New research has shown that melanoma skin cancer in teens and patients in their 20’s has skyrocketed in recent years. Historically, skin cancer has affected more men than women, but the statistics are shifting. The latest reports reflect that the number of young women under the age of 30 who were diagnosed has increased by as much as 800%, and that the number of young men under 30 who have been diagnosed has increased by approximately 400%. For those adults who are over 30 years of age, men are still most commonly diagnosed, largely due to the outdoor exposure they experience. Many patients at the Parker Center have benefitted from plastic surgery procedures which permit skin cancer removal and reconstruction.
Researchers attribute the increase in melanoma skin cancer to a number of factors, with excessive unprotected sun exposure being a primary culprit. While most parents today thoroughly cover their young children with sunblock, older children and teens are given freedom to take care of themselves and may frequently skip this precaution. Cases in young females may be growing exponentially because of the trend of frequent tanning, both with indoor tanning beds and outdoors under the sun’s harmful rays. Each tan or burn a person experiences in their lifetime linearly increases their chances of developing skin cancer.
Melanoma is generally regarded as the most worrisome type of skin cancer. It is often presents as an irregular, dark mole which can change in size and color over time. If left untreated, it will likely grow and invade more deeply into the skin. As the melanoma grows and invades more deeply, the problem becomes more difficult to treat; early diagnosis and treatment is critical to good outcomes. Anyone with a suspicious mole on their body should see a dermatologist for an evaluation; this may include biopsy of the mole to clarify what type of mole it is. If a melanoma or other skin cancer is diagnosed, the dermatologist may recommend plastic surgery in an attempt to minimize scarring and/ or disfigurement.
Skin cancer is most common in the areas of the body that are naturally exposed to the most sun. Treatment typically involves the removal of the cancer with a margin on normal skin around it. Surgeons such as Dr. Parker utilize plastic surgery to optimize wound healing. Contact the Parker Center for Plastic Surgery for more information on skin treatments.