Skin cancer in baby
Skin changes in babies are not uncommon and, in very few cases, can indicate skin cancer.
There are various skin tumors, also known as melanomas, which can occur at a young age. These include sarcomas (rhabdosarcoma, angiosarcoma, fibrosarcoma), neuroblastomas and other nerve tumors as well as skin lymphomas. However, only about 0.3 percent of all melanomas are found before puberty. These usually only lead to problems in adulthood when they have been exposed to certain factors such as frequent UV radiation or sun exposure.
Skin tumors very rarely cause symptoms or discomfort. Most skin tumors are only noticeable by their appearance at the time of diagnosis. However, in some cases the affected area may be itchy. Occasionally there is also oozing or small bleeding of the affected skin or the mole.
Classic symptoms, however, are more conspicuous areas of the skin. If the tumor develops from a mole, the following changes often occur: The birthmark begins to grow, becomes darker or has areas of different light and dark and its borders become irregular.
Malignant melanomas can also grow into the dermis layer and then find connections to the blood and lymphatic system. In such cases, the tumor can spread to lymph nodes or organs. If lymph nodes are affected, they become larger.
Read more at:
- What are the symptoms of skin cancer?
- Mole and Skin Cancer - How to Recognize the Danger
Types of skin cancer
The congenital melanocytic nevus is a skin change that is commonly referred to as a birthmark and that can be present from birth. Melanomas tend to develop from this lesion, especially in very large nevi.
In addition to melanomas, semimalignant basal cell carcinomas or cutaneous sting carcinomas can also be detected in infancy. These tumors do not lead to symptoms until later in life and are not dangerous in infancy.
For more information, also read: Birthmarks in babies - how to distinguish dangerous from harmless
White skin cancer
White skin cancer is not white, as the name incorrectly suggests, but adapts to the skin color of the affected region. It can also appear slightly pink or red in fair-skinned people and can therefore easily be mistaken for eczema or a wound. This term refers to two different types of tumor: basal cell carcinoma (also called basalioma) and spinalioma.
Spinaliomas originate in the prickly cell layer (stratum spinosum) while basaliomas originate from the basal cell layer (stratum basale). In addition to their origin, these tumors also differ in their frequency: basaliomas are more common than spinaliomas. The latter also tend to spread and can affect different organs. Basaliomas, on the other hand, rarely lead to metastases.
These tumors are particularly common in people with pale skin who are prone to sunburn. UV radiation is the main cause of the development of such abnormalities and accordingly body parts such as the face, ears, hands and some others are among the sensitive areas as they are exposed to a lot of radiation. It should be noted, however, that such cancers occur primarily in older people over the age of 60 and rarely in children and infants.
Read more about this at: Spinalioma - All You Need To Know
Black skin cancer is the malignant form of melanoma. It is the most serious type of skin cancer.
Melanomas originate in the melanocytes. These are the cells of the skin which produce colored pigments and are responsible for our individual skin color. The type of cancer develops due to excessive exposure to UV light and therefore mostly occurs in adulthood. People who often got sunburns in childhood are particularly at risk. Genetic predisposition also plays a role in the occurrence of this type of cancer.
However, children are rarely affected. These tumors tend to develop on the lower legs in women and on the back in men. In general, however, parts of the body that are often exposed to sunlight are also sensitive. About a third of all melanomas arise from liver spots and therefore, if there is a known family history or if there is frequent sunburn in childhood, regular check-ups should be carried out. Malignant melanomas also tend to metastasize to lymph nodes and other organs.
For more information, see: Mole and skin cancer
The treatment of choice for white skin cancer is surgical removal. A certain safety margin must be maintained here, i.e. the doctor not only removes the tumor, but also the normal-looking skin around the tumor so that no diseased cells remain hidden. The safety margin is greater with spinalioma than with basalioma. After removal, the removed tissue must be examined in the pathology department to ensure that the cut edges are free of tumor cells. If this is not the case, you should recut.
Basaliomas that are located on the trunk do not necessarily have to be treated surgically: These can also be treated with the help of local immunotherapy or photodynamic therapy (a special light therapy).
For malignant melanoma, also known as black skin cancer, surgical removal is also the method of choice. If the melanoma is over a millimeter thick, the lymphatic drainage system including the lymph nodes in the affected area should also be removed. If the melanoma has a penetration depth of more than 2 millimeters, so-called adjuvant immunotherapy should be carried out in addition to the surgical removal. This is to ensure that there are no more living tumor cells. If there are already metastases of the melanoma, additional treatment measures should be taken in addition to the operation. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy then come into question. After the treatment of skin cancer, regular check-ups should be carried out by the dermatologist.
Further information on the subject can be found at: This is how skin cancer is treated
The causes of skin tumors are mostly genetic, as many different gene mutations can promote the development of melanomas. So a risk factor for developing melanoma is the presence of skin tumors in the family. If there are more than two first-degree relatives, one usually speaks of an increased risk.
In addition, children with light skin, red and blonde hair, light eye color and freckles are more at risk, especially if they are exposed to UV light frequently and develop sunburns quickly.
If hereditary skin diseases, so-called genodermatoses, already prevail, this can also increase the risk of a skin tumor. Examples of this can be diseases such as basal cell nevus syndrome, xeroderma pigmentosum or epidermodysplasia. In general, chemical pollutants or radiation and immunosuppression can promote the development of melanoma.
The diagnosis consists initially of a detailed clarification of the risk factors such as frequent exposure to sun rays, previous illnesses, tumors in the family. This is followed by a physical examination, in which, in addition to suspicious skin changes, the rest of the body is examined, especially in areas that are difficult to see such as the buttocks, genitals, mouth and scalp.
A doctor can use a dermatoscope for a better assessment. This enables deeper layers of the skin to be viewed. In the case of high-risk patients, taking photos of suspicious skin changes can be useful in order to be able to observe them over a certain period of time.
In general, the following are warning signs for a malignant skin change:
- bad mobility
- rough consistency
- rapid growth
- Size over 3 cm
- Occurrence in infancy
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- Skin cancer - early detection and treatment
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The prognosis of white skin cancer is very good if the basalioma or spinalioma is discovered and removed at an early stage. In such cases, however, the skin should continue to be checked regularly in order to detect further skin tumors at an early stage. In advanced stages and especially in large spinaliomas, a search for metastases is necessary and chemotherapy may be necessary.
Malignant melanomas are considered cured if they are removed while only in the epidermis. Thanks to the good early detection, the 5-year survival rate is around 80%. The later the tumor is discovered and removed, and the deeper it penetrates, the worse the prognosis.
Similar topics: Prognosis for a basalioma