You know to check your face, shoulders and back for changes that might indicate skin cancer, but there are some weird places you need to check for skin cancer too. By weird, I mean places you wouldn’t normally consider would ever be prone to cancer. As a person who has had several skin biopsies in my lifetime, I can attest to how important it is to keep an eye on your entire body for signs that something isn’t right. So, without further ado, here are several weird places you need to check for skin cancer. If you see something that worries you, make an appointment with your dermatologist right away.
According to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a top dermatologist, five to ten percent of skin cancers appear on the eyelids, making it one of the most important weird places you need to check for skin cancer. You might think that if you had skin cancer in such a visible location, that you’d never miss it, but it’s still important to examine your eyelids carefully at least once a month. That way you’ll be able to note any changes or strange looking growths in the early stages. Your eye doctor can perform an exam, but will likely have you see a dermatologist is there’s anything weird going on.
2. Bottoms of Your Feet
Yep, you can get skin cancer on the bottoms of your feet. If you walk around barefoot often or lay out in the sun with them exposed, you certainly increase your risk. I put sunscreen on the bottoms of my feet to protect them and it’s probably a good idea if you’re wearing sandals or flip flops. According to experts at Health magazine, acral lentiginous melanoma is most common on the soles of your feet, when compared to the rest of your body.
3. Inside of Your Mouth
It’s not the traditional melanoma you hear about all the time, but the inside of your mouth is skin, so you can definitely get cancer there. Your dentist should be doing a cancer check at each of your regular check-ups, but you should also be on the lookout for strange symptoms. Ostad encourages you to have any sore that lasts longer than two weeks examined right away. This is often an indicator of cancer, but early detection is important for recovery.
4. Under Your Nails
I’ve actually been to my dermatologist after seeing a black spot under my toenail that didn’t go away after a couple of weeks. Fortunately, it was just dried blood that was hanging out after an injury. However, it is possible to develop melanoma under your finger and toenails. You should be on the lookout for dark spots or lines as well as changes to the nail itself. If you see anything strange, have it checked out to be sure.
5. Behind Your Ear
Maybe you slather sunscreen on your face and the tops of your ears, but are you getting behind your ears? That’s a common spot for skin cancer, says Ostad, because it’s often missed when it comes to applying a sun protection product. You should definitely be more diligent about getting back there with your sunscreen, but it’s also a good idea to use a hand mirror and check it often to be sure you don’t have any strange moles or patches of skin that could be cancer. Have a peek at your hairline and the back of your neck too, advises Health magazine.
6. Between Your Toes
I live in flip flops during the summer, so it follows that between my toes gets some sunshine. Not as much as the tops of my feet or my arms, etc., but rays sure do penetrate in there. I’ve taken to putting sunscreen in there when I’ll be outside, but I also spread my toes and peek at the crevices now and then to make sure moles or other scary spots aren’t cropping up between visits to the dermatologist.
7. Your behind
I can assure you that my butt doesn’t get any sunlight. However, sunshine is only one of the factors in the development of skin cancer. Like other cancers, your lifestyle habits and genetics also play a role. That means you can get skin cancer in your nether regions. Have your partner or a close friend look for you if you can’t get a good visual. Your dermatologist should also peek at your check-ups.
Do any of these places surprise you? The American Academy of Dermatology highly encourage you to have your skin checked often and anytime a problem arises. That’s the best way to catch skin cancer early so it can be treated immediately. Will you start checking your skin?