FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Despite its rarity among children, dermatologists say they're diagnosing more kids with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
According to a study featured in Pediatrics, pediatric melanoma increased by an average of 2 percent every year. The biggest jump was in girls between 15 and 19 years old.
"We are diagnosing more melanoma in children, teen girls, and young adults," said Dr. Marianna Blyumin Karasik, a dermatologist with Memorial Healthcare System.
Doctors blame the popularity of tanning booths.
"Actually, an individual who tans before the age of 30 in an indoor booth will have a 75 percent increased risk of melanoma," said Blyumin Karasik.
Jamie Trano grew up on Fort Lauderdale Beach and said she made weekly trips to the tanning salon.
"For me, being tan was being pretty," she said.
Trano, 28, found a mole growing on her thigh. Doctors diagnosed it as invasive melanoma.
"Just shocked. Just utter shock. I just couldn't believe it," said Trano, who had her melanoma treated before it spread.
Doctors say boys are more likely to develop melanoma on their faces and chests and girls on their lower legs and hips.
Sunscreens labeled "broad-spectrum protection" are the only ones able to block all of the sun's harmful rays.
Trano said she now uses plenty of sunscreen each time she goes outside.
"I look down at it every day and I am reminded that I need to take care of my skin," she said.
Other risk factors for melanoma include fair skin, light-colored hair and eyes, moles, and a history of sunburns.
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