(HealthDay News) — Pediatric patients diagnosed with an invasive cutaneous melanoma have nearly double the relative risk of developing a subsequent primary melanoma, compared with adults, according to a study published online June 20 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

To investigate the risks of subsequent primary melanoma development in pediatric and adult patients, G. W. Jung, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and Martin A. Weinstock, M.D., Ph.D., of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, conducted a retrospective study using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database for 208,289 patients diagnosed with invasive melanoma from 1973 to 2010.

The researchers found that 3.3 percent of patients were diagnosed with a subsequent primary melanoma. Increasing age at diagnosis of the first melanoma correlated with increasing incidence of second primary melanomas. However, patients diagnosed with their first melanoma at age 19 years or younger had nearly double the relative risk of developing a subsequent melanoma compared to those who were first diagnosed when they were older. Forty-four percent of subsequent melanomas were of a different subtype to the initial invasive melanoma, and 55 percent were located in a different anatomic site compared with the initial invasive melanoma.

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“In summary, second primary melanoma is not only an important sequelae of adult melanomas but also a significant consequence following pediatric index cases,” the authors write. “As such, both physicians and parents should maintain a proactive follow-up regimen consisting of regular complete skin examinations for this younger patient population, as should occur with other age groups.”

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