Few people expect melanoma to develop in young adults. Most skin cancers are the result of years of cumulative sun exposure, so physicians rarely expect to see someone in their teens or 20s who has melanoma. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in 15-to-19-year-olds, and the most common form of cancer affecting young adults between the ages of 25 and 29. Many of these diagnoses are made in female patients, but young men can develop melanoma as well.
Not only can melanoma develop in young individuals, but it can also develop as a result of lifestyle choices a person establishes during the teen years and early 20s. Most notably, people who habitually tan during adolescence and young adulthood have a higher risk of developing melanoma skin cancer later on in life. Sustaining just five sunburns as a teenager can make an adult 80 percent more likely to develop melanoma during their lifetime.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer comprehensive treatment for melanoma patients of all ages, along with a special Adolescent and Young Adult program for patients between the ages of 15 and 39. This program enables patients to:
- Receive treatment from oncologists who treat a high volume of teenage and young adult melanoma patients each year
- Connect with other young adult cancer patients through a variety of age-group specific support groups
- Participate in specially designed creative programs and social events
At Moffitt, teenage and young adult patients can access the latest melanoma therapies, as well as clinical trials that are open to patients in their specific age groups. And, referrals are not required to make an appointment.