Ask the Advocates: Unusual Skin Cancer Spots
Our arms, legs, and faces are common areas for skin cancer to develop. However, skin cancer can appear anywhere on the body.
Unusual spots where skin cancer occur
We asked our advocates, "What is the most unusual spot you’ve had or heard of someone having skin cancer?" Here are their answers:
Ronni: Outer ear
My most unusual skin cancer was in the outer part of my left ear. I had rubbed my finger in the area because I had an itch, and I pulled out some blood. The area didn’t heal, and that was a sign that it was cancer. At first, they weren’t sure what it was, but a biopsy showed that it was basal cell carcinoma. The Mohs surgery wasn’t any worse than the others that I have had, but the healing process was horrendous. Maybe that’s because the area isn’t flat and takes longer to heal. Or maybe it’s just a sensitive area. Since then, I have tried to remember to put sunscreen in my ear...not all the way in of course but just the part that gets exposed to the sun.
Renee: Soles of the feet
I remember reading that people can get skin cancer on the soles of their feet. I asked my dermatologist if this is true, and she said yes, and then I noticed during my full body check that she thoroughly exams the tops and bottoms of my feet, and even in between my toes!
Rachel: Space between nostrils
I have treated over 600 skin cancers and the most unusual spot I have ever treated was the nasal columella. The strip of skin in between your nostrils, and I have actually treated this location twice. When you think about it, the last time you applied sunscreen did you remember to get under your nose? I do now!
Liz: Toenail & inside nostril
I would have to say the most unusual area I have heard of to find skin cancer is under the toenail. Being protected by the hardened toenail, I would have thought it off-limit to the invasive UV rays. But those rays are sneaky and can permeate anywhere even if not directly exposed to the sun. The other area I was surprised to read about that someone had skin cancer was inside their nostril. Again, not exposed to UV rays, it does seem an unthinkable place to grow cancer. No part of our body is safe from this ogre.
April: Below the beltline & soles of the feet
Several years before my own melanoma diagnosis, an administrator in our school system was diagnosed with melanoma. He was a close friend of my mentor teacher, and I can recall vividly the way she described his battle. Not knowing much at all about melanoma, I still found it so odd that his initial spot was below the beltline where the sun would never have had an impact. I think it was at that moment I realized how serious melanoma actually could be.
Last year, while looking through posts on a social media page dedicated to melanoma survivors, I saw photos of a young woman who was in the throes of chemotherapy and radiation. Her husband posted frequently and made mention in one of his updates that her melanoma was initially diagnosed on the sole of her foot. I was in awe. As much as I had learned since my diagnosis in 2007, I was still amazed that a mole in such a concealed area could lead to such a devastating sequence of events.
Have you taken our Beyond the Cancer Diagnosis Survey?