Checking ourselves for irregular moles or other odd spots is one of those things we all know we should be doing – like eating an apple instead of that yummy Nutella crepe – but it’s unfortunately not something we all do. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer? Melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, will account for about 76,380 cases of skin cancer in 2016 according to the American Cancer Society. I have so many moles that I need to have them checked every six months and my doctor told me that, for aesthetic reasons, I should start removing them…that’s how many new ones I get. Luckily they’ve all been harmless. I mentioned before however that one of my best friends – who is so busy with work she barely has time to go in the sun – found a cancerous one on her back (so just imagine how much risk you have if you actually spend a lot of time in the sun…). It was removed and she’s fine now, but that’s only because her mother spotted it very early on and the removal cost her $12,000! We MUST BE proactive but it’s also important to know that skin cancer can be stealthy. Even if you have a handle on what to look for, suspicious moles aren’t always in plain sight and many tuck into covert, hard-to-see spots of the body. I turned to the skin experts at Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute and asked them to share with us six of overlooked spots to screen regularly. Here’s what they shared:
- Eyelids. Five to ten percent of skin cancers are found here. Look for unusual spots.
- Between the toes. Fifty percent of patients diagnosed with melanoma of the feet die within five years.
- Ears. Often a neglected SPF spot! Check behind and on top of each ear for warning signs.
- Scalp and neck. These areas have the highest risk of melanoma-specific mortality.
- Lips and mouth. If you have a cold or canker sore that won’t heal, visit a dermatologist or dentist.
- Nail beds. Check here between manicures (always remove your nail polish first).
Makeup is no excuse for not wearing sunscreen (aside from cancer, just think of the wrinkles!), especially now that there are so many primers formulated with SPF. Let’s make our year a safe one!