Melanoma Awareness, Preventative Tips

8 Places You Wouldn't Expect To Find Skin Cancer

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Posted 03/10/13

8 places you wouldn’t expect to find skin cancer

Melanoma can occur in areas that are out of sight and therefore often out of mind. Although ‘hidden’ melanoma are less likely to occur, regular self-checks can help in detecting potentially cancerous lesions early.

Eight places you wouldn’t expect to find melanoma:

  • Nail bed

Most often appear under the nail of the thumb or big toe as a brown or black streak that does not disappear with time.

  • Nose and Mouth

Nose bleeds and stuffiness can be misinterpreted as sinus trouble. Melanoma in the mouth may appear like a pigmented mass. If accompanied with difficulty swallowing, it can be mistaken for canker sores.

  • Female Genitalia

Signs and symptoms for vaginal/vulvar melanomas are similar to symptoms of other infections but patients with advanced melanoma will have a recognized change of a mole on the vulva.

  • Anus

Rectal bleeding is the most common symptom of advanced melanoma, which can be mistaken as coming from haemorrhoids.

  • Urinary Tract

There are no signs of early stage melanoma of the urethra. In advanced stages, there may be blood in the urine, frequency, pain on urination or feeling the need to void but only small amounts of urine are passed.

  • Oesophagus

Melanoma that first starts in the oesophagus is extremely rare. There are no signs or symptoms of early stages. In later stages a tumour may cause difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, pain or bleeding.

  • Scalp

Melanoma of the scalp is easily hidden by hair and symptoms may not appear until more advanced. Use of a blow dryer and comb to part the hair can help one examine the scalp.

  • Eye

Melanoma can develop in the lining or one of the coatings of the eye. It may appear as a dark spot or scratchiness under the lid.

Regular self-screening is important along with regular check-ups with healthcare professionals to identify changes. When undertaking self-checks, the ABCD rule is useful in helping you to identify melanoma.

Source:, Eight places you wouldn’t expect to find melanoma skin cancer, March 2013