While we are out on the snow in the winter we risk the chance of getting sunburn. This possibility is increased by the reflection of the sun on the snows surface. While the sunburn may feel unpleasant it has a lingering potential of harm especially to skiers and boarders.
Once considered a disease of adults because it was rarely diagnosed in young people, melanoma diagnosis in children and young adults is occurring at an alarming trend, and as a society, we cannot afford to ignore.
Skin cancer is often missed in young patients because health care providers do not appreciate that young patients are at risk for developing this deadly disease. This lack of understanding or low index of suspicion is proving deadly for too many of the young melanoma patients. Melanoma is the most common cause of cancer diagnosed in white females ages 20-24, and the fourth most common in young males of the same age.
Typical sunburn(s) in childhood are not harmless; they are a major factor for developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in young adulthood. The largest organ we have is our skin. Unfortunately, our society obsesses over the "perfect tan".
Skin cancer is easily prevented with proper education and when prevention doesn't work, then early diagnosis and treatment is critical to patients' outcomes.