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Melanoma in children

Elena B Hawryluk, MD, PhD
Section Editors
Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD
Moise L Levy, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Pediatric melanoma, usually defined as melanoma occurring in patients younger than 20 years, is rare, representing approximately only 1 to 4 percent of all melanomas [1,2]. Because of its rarity, the biology and clinical behavior, as well as the histopathologic features of pediatric melanoma, are not well characterized. The diagnosis is often extremely difficult to establish, especially in prepubertal children, in whom melanoma may present as a nonspecific nonpigmented lesion or benign lesion, resulting in frequent misdiagnosis, thicker lesions, and delayed treatment [3].

This topic will discuss the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of melanoma in children. Melanoma in adults is discussed separately. Spitz nevi and atypical Spitz tumors are also discussed separately.

(See "Clinical features and diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma".)

(See "Pathologic characteristics of melanoma".)

(See "Initial surgical management of melanoma of the skin and unusual sites".)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Aug 3, 2016.
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