Unusual Places For Skin Cancer

Dermatologists recommend that you should conduct a self-examination of your skin every month. Skincancer.org has a page that details the step-by-step instructions on how to perform a head-to-toe skin exam. During your self-exam, you should carefully look at every nook and cranny of your body using multiple mirrors, looking for any unusual-looking moles, or blemishes or lesions that might look strange. Skin cancers are treatable when detected early, but can be deadly when it is not treated.
While a careful examination might be satisfactory, sometimes we tend to ignore some places on our bodies that can be susceptible to getting skin cancers. Here are some unusual places on your body that you need to check carefully during your self-exam:
Bottoms of your feet – Did you know that these areas of the body can also be prone to getting skin cancer? We tend to ignore the bottoms of our feet because we assume that because it’s not exposed to the sun, it cannot get any type of skin cancer. It’s important to spread the skin around your toes, including your toenails (and fingernails), and your palms as well to check for any irregular moles or contusions.
Your Scalp – The scalp is actually a very COMMON site for melanoma. The tops of our heads are one of the most-exposed parts of our body to the sun, so comb through it all the way during your skin exam to rule out any possible growths, or non-healing sunburns. Your hairdresser can also help as they get a good view of your head during your salon appointments.
Tattoos – As a reminder: tattoos DO NOT protect your skin against skin cancer. Having your skin covered in ink does not count as protection against the sun. Generally, if you do get a tattoo, you should not place it over moles as it can potentially hide any skin cancer because the ink and color can make it difficult to examine the true nature of the skin. Do not forget to treat your tattoo’d skin the same as your regular skin, meaning you should take care of it all the same.
So to protect yourself against skin cancer, remember to practice sun safety. This means that you should wear broad-spectrum sunblock with a minimum SPF of 15 and that you should reapply every two hours. You should also wear protective clothing, like wide-brim hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and pants that can cover a majority of your legs, whenever you go out in the sun. However, the best protective measure you can take is to avoid the sun completely when permitted. If you do have to be outside, stay in the shade especially during the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM, when the the sun’s rays are the strongest.