Most children thankfully do not have to worry about skin cancer until adulthood. Melanoma in kids is exceedingly rare, and there are only 6 cases per million individuals per year. However, the incidence of childhood melanoma is slowly increasing, and some pediatric patients do require yearly pediatric skin cancer screening.
Children who need screening usually fall into one of three categories.
First and foremost, any child with a bleeding lesion that is not healing or a changing mole should come in for immediate evaluation. If necessary, a biopsy will be done at the time of the visit to ascertain the diagnosis.
Secondly, children with multiple moles and/or a strong family history of melanoma should consider getting full body examination during their childhood. Often with the help of serial measurements and photography, moles can be tracked over time and biopsies can be avoided.
Finally, children with large pigmented birthmarks should have an initial evaluation shortly after birth and these lesions should be followed clinically.