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Melanoma Res. 2003 Aug;13(4):421-6.

Skin cancer in children and young adults: 28 years' experience from the Northern Region Young Person's Malignant Disease Registry, UK.

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School of Clinical Medical Sciences (Child Health), University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Little population-based data has been published about skin cancers in children and young adults. In this study, 200 cases of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed under 25 years of age in the North of England from 1968-1995 were obtained from the Northern Region Young Persons' Malignant Disease Registry. The incidence was 1.2 cases per million per year for children (aged 0-14 years) and was 13 cases per million per year for young adults (aged 15-24 years). Melanoma accounted for 138 cases, of which 16 were in subjects aged < 15 years at diagnosis. The incidence of melanoma increased in females at a rate of 5.6 per million per decade (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.2-8.9, P = 0.002), largely due to an increased incidence of primary lower limb tumours. The incidence for males was unchanged. Survival improved significantly over time for both males and females (P < or = 0.02). Of the 62 patients with non-melanoma skin cancers, 66% were diagnosed with primary non-basal cell carcinoma, 13% with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, 10% with squamous cell carcinoma and 11% with other tumours. Two cases were iatrogenic second malignancies following treatment for an earlier primary brain tumour. The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers was significantly higher during 1982-1995 than during 1968-1981 (rate ratio 1.7, 95% CI 1.0-2.8). There were three deaths from non-melanoma skin cancer, and the overall 5 year survival rate was 98% (95% CI 89-100%). The reason for the increasing incidence of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in young people is unknown, but it is likely that ultraviolet exposure plays an aetiological role. It is important that families continue to be advised of the need for vigilance with regard to childhood sun exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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