7 Reasons “skin cancer will change your child’s life” will give you a heads up should your child get a skin cancer diagnosis.
Yes, skin cancer will change parts of your child’s life. And it should. We only have one skin. Your healthy skin is important to have a decent run at a good life. Isn’t that what we all want for our children?
The repeated cases of skin cancer risks, the fear, and anxiety following a diagnosis, changes in the appearance of the skin, lifestyle changes, learning to do self-checks, the emotional impact, and treatment side effects add up to fear,
Here are seven points that highlight the ways in which skin cancer can affect your child. They aren’t so much to scare you as to make you aware of the dangers of skin damage from the sun. The more you know, the better you can protect your family.
1. The First Diagnoses Is Seldom the Last
If your child is diagnosed with skin cancer, there is an increased risk of developing it again. Regular skin exams will become a regular part of their life. Staying aware is important.
Overexposure to the sun is the cause of about 90% of skin cancers, and the one you can be proactive with. For a few, something happens usually before birth that allows the skin to be unable to reproduce properly. The cells reproduce as the upper layers mature and fall off but the replacement cells behave differently.
Cancer is considered uncontrollable skin growth. (I know that isn’t technical, but that is what is happening.) The new cells in a certain area may not be able to produce healthy skin to keep the surface smooth and complete. There may be weak cells that just don’t lay down as they should, producing rough places in your child’s skin.
This makes the skin more sensitive to the sun and to sunburn.
The same thing happens when there is sunburn. The skin will blister and peel. We hope that only the top layer burns and all will be well in a few days. However, sunburn can cause the skin DNA to be damaged or destroyed. If this happens, the cell will be unable to replace itself correctly.
If damaged again with a sunburn, there will be more cells that can’t replace themselves. Most results of skin with damaged DNA is overgrowth. The cell no longer has the correct program to correctly replace the cell. With one cell affected, the damage is minor, with more the damage becomes more widespread, and a perfect place for skin cancer.
2. Fear and Anxiety Usually Follow a Skin Cancer Diagnosis
Adults have trouble with a skin cancer diagnosis, and for a child, it can be frightening and overwhelming. Cancer is a word that inspires fear in our minds. There is just so much unknown. Life-threatening in our minds, and grappling with the reality of skin cancer for our child can be stressful.
Can you imagine the anxiety that the words skin cancer can cause? Skin cancer is not usually the most deadly if treated early. However, melanoma which is considered a skin cancer is the cancer that causes most deaths.
Learning to live a safe-in-the-sun lifestyle is important for the whole family. If you are a family with a history of skin cancer, even if not your immediate family, you should be careful when planning to be out in the sun.
Helping your child understand that the treatment is usually successful when treating skin cancer can be reassuring to the child’s mind.
Helping them understand what they must do to protect their skin in the future makes them feel incontrol of what is happening, and can calm their fears. Let them know that you are there to help, with changing risky habits to stay safe in the future.
Just because you have darker tone skin don’t think your kids can’t have skin cancer. When skin doesn’t turn easily, the irritations are less noticeable. Be aware of the danger darker skin tones face in the skin cancer risk.
3. Changes In Appearance
For your children, there is a chance that the location of the wounds or scars with skin cancer treatment is hard to cover. For some youngsters, the change in their skin is noticeable.
Changes in appearance from sunburn to healing and scarring once the surgery is done can be alarming. There may be some disfigurement as well as scarring.
We as adults may realize that it will all look better in time, but children don’t have your perspective. Acknowledge the change and talk about it with them. Understanding the different stages of healing is important.
A child may have some effect on their self-esteem, and even the quality of their life if they are teased by their friends and family. Children can be bullied because they are in this healing process, and if disfigurement is involved, their fears are actual and require your assistance.
So acknowledge your child’s fears as they are going through the sunburn healing and the peeling skin. Peeling skin can be unsightly, and uncomfortable. Seeing pieces of their skin roll up while still attached to their bodies is not a normal experience.
4. Lifestyle Changes
When your child has a skin cancer diagnosis, your whole family will be making lifestyle changes. Actually, this change should happen if your child gets sunburned. Obviously, your existing lifestyle has areas that are dangerous for your child. It no longer works for your family.
This will be hard for your child as they change their lifestyle that allowed that sunburn to safer habits. Your child will now have the adjusting to choosing safer times to be out in the sun Different times to be out in the sun.
Among the changes will be protecting their skin better. Even if your child had some safe habits, a sunburn indicates holes in the sun safety plan. Sun blocking clothing, sun hats, remembering sunglasses. Impossible? No but a change. Change is tough
5. Doing Self Skin Checks
Besides making the needed lifestyle changes, your child will need to be aware of the need for doing self-skin checks.
Regular skin checks for spotting changes in the skin surface are not being vane, it is being safe. You as a parent will be modeling safe skin inspection.
Your dermatologist will have advised you on how to do this, and the reasons, as well as what to look for. You as the parent will be the one to help your child with this new habit and help them know what to look for with this part of the changes.
Kids pick up on the things that alarm you. Having a new routine for skin protection and self-checks is all new, and frightening for your child.
This change in your child’s routine may make a difference in when they can join their friends for activities they were accustomed to doing whenever they wanted to.
This is important for your child to acknowledge. He can be out and play in the sun and swim, but at safer times. He will need sun blocking clothing and sunscreen. This change is a big one for your child.
Your child may be misreading your concern for their safety as being frightened for their life. The need for change needs to be understood by your child to allow his fears to be put to rest.
Don’t overlook the overwhelming changes can cause. Discuss them with your child fully. Yes, he can easily have skin cancer more than one time.
6. Your Child’s Emotional Impact
It is no surprise that a diagnosis of skin cancer can cause an emotional reaction in your child. This is entirely normal. He has gone from the suspected abnormality to the actual diagnosis. If it requires surgery, there is another different thing happening in his world.
This is true for even older kids. They may seem to be unaffected by the whole thing, but they have had their world changed. Talking through the procedures with kids of all ages is important.
I ask all the questions every time I have to have a new skin cancer removed. Even after many bouts of the process, I still am a bit ill at ease with the whole thing. I want my dr talking to me and reassuring me that all is well.
7. Treatment Side Effects
As in most treatments, there are usually some side effects from treatment for skin cancer.
These side effects depend on the type and stage of skin cancer treatment, as well as where on your body the skin is affected.
Did the treatment involve surgery? Or radiation? Or chemotherapy? These treatments can cause your child to feel fatigue, or nausea. The skin can feel irritated. All these things are impacting your child’s daily life, and what he can or can’t do.
Children may have their educational life affected. They may need to miss some school, interrupting the flow of their daily life. Then on top of that there are all the things that are having to change as a healthy lifestyle is being put in place.
Just missing school time for appointments or treatment leads to feelings of being different and can cause feelings of isolation or being different. For some, missing school and the fear of falling behind causes stress.
Overall, skin cancer can have a significant impact on a child’s life.
If your child has a wart, mole, or any imperfection in the skin like a sore spot that doesn’t heal, it’s important to take preventative measures.
Early detection and treatment reduce the risk of complications. Early interventions also improve long-term outcomes.
Seeking emotional support and addressing any educational challenges can help your child cope. Coping better with skin cancer, and improving their quality of life. Healthy skin and healthy minds and bodies are what I am wanting for your child.
Sami’s Take On 7 Risks Kids Face from the Sun “Just Because They Are Kids.”
There is one more risk, that parents need to keep in mind that can make their kids at higher risk for sun damage. Medication
Check the labels of the medications your kids need. Make sure they are not on the list to raise your kid’s risks.
List of drugs for young kids’ parents:
- Antihistamines: These are medicines that help with allergies and allergic reactions.
- Coal Tar and Derivatives: These are medicines that treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Contraceptives, Oral, and Estrogens: Medicines used to prevent pregnancy and treat certain medical conditions.
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: These are medicines used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but should only be given under the supervision of a doctor.
- Phenothiazines: These are medicines used to treat mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.
- Psoralens: These are medicines used to treat skin conditions such as vitiligo.
- Sulfonamides: These are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.
- Sulfonylureas: These are medicines used to treat diabetes.
- Thiazide Diuretics: These are medicines used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
- Tetracyclines: These are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants: These are medicines used to treat depression, but should only be given under the supervision of a doctor.
It’s important to always consult with a healthcare professional before giving any medication to your child, as they can advise you on the proper dosage and potential side effects.
I am not a medical specialist, but I have a family fighting a lifelong battle with skin cancer. We have scars to prove it.
I didn’t know about the danger of sun exposure to our skin. Make yourself aware, and allow your kids to have healthy skin.