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Skin cancer targets young patients too


BOCA RATON, FL (WTVJ/NBC) – It’s a stark warning to keep the sunscreen nearby, as dermatologists say skin cancer is showing up in young patients.

Adrian Plotnicoff, 19, goes a thorough skin check up by his dermatologist every six months. He had precancerous moles removed in the past, so he was always on the lookout for anything that looked suspicious.

His vigilance paid off in January.

“I actually noticed it in my skin check that there was a weird mole between my toes I had never seen before,” Plotnicoff said.

His dermatologist, Dr. Marta Rendon, was surprised by what she saw.

“He takes his shoe off it, we look at it and its pitch black, irregular.”

It turned out to be malignant melanoma.

Also surprising is the fact that the college freshman is not Rendon’s youngest patient with this cancer.

“I had a 10-year-old with melanoma several years ago,” Rendon said, who has busy practice in Boca Raton, FL.

She says Melanoma is the second leading cause of cancer in people ages 15 to 29. “Forty percent of them are diagnosed late because we don’t think about kids having skin cancer,” she said.

Plotnicoff’s melanoma was detected at a very early stage and was surgically removed.

“It’s a very scary word but I was extremely relieved that we had a doctor that I know was behind us and got him immediate attention,” said Laura Plotnicoff, Adrian’s mother.

Now they’re hoping to get the attention of young sun lovers who might not realize the importance of using sunscreen and reapplying at least every two hours.

The American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to check your own skin for possible warning signs.

“[If] something pops up out of the blue, it’s black, dark or if it bleeds grows or changes color, any of those signs, you need to bring it up to your doctor,” Rendon said.

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