Kids and Melanoma

Orange County is one of the sunniest places in California, with hundreds of sun days per year. With that comes the need for protection. Improper protection can increase risk for skin cancer. To ward off harmful UVA and UVB rays, use about an ounce of sunscreen for each area of exposed skin, i.e. leg or arm.


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It should be applied liberally and more often than most people think. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and use at least SPF 30. Reapply every two hours.


Melanoma accounts for 4% of all skin cancers. Malignant (life-threatening) melanoma starts in cells that produce pigment (color) in skin. It usually begins as a mole that turns cancerous. People with all skin types may be affected, but those who are fair-skinned and burn easily are at a higher risk.


Although melanoma is still rare in kids, parents should make checking for moles part of their monthly routine. Look for Asymmetry, Border, Color and Diameter.

With early detection, melanoma is curable, so be safe and use common sense in the sun:

  • Apply sunscreen, even on infants 6 months and older
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats
  • Protect your eyes; wear sunglasses


  • Cases of skin cancer in the U.S. every year: 1.3 Million
  • Percentage of sun rays blocked when SPF 30 is applied: 90%
  • Time of day when the sun is the strongest: 10am – 4pm

Shelby's Story

Cancer survivor Shelby Sacchette’s bright future involves a world where there’s a cure for all skin cancers.

The new CHOC is the future itself, here now. Since our founding, CHOC has been meeting the needs of children and families with first-class care and state-of-the-art facilities. Now, by building one of the most advanced children’s hospitals in the world, we are defining the shape of things to come — for children’s care, for medical research, and for the community.

Subscribe to KidsHealth