Despite the name, skin cancer can occur in more parts of your body than you think.
Doctors warn that people should be aware of the other locations where the disease can form, as rare cases can present themselves this way.
There are three types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Although melanoma accounts for only one percent of cases, it causes the vast majority of deaths.
Melanoma forms in melanocytes, cells in the skin responsible for producing color, but these cells are also found in other parts of the body and can erupt into cancer.
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There are three types of skin cancer. Each can present itself in different ways. These include moles that are asymmetrical or abnormal, scaly or dark patches, and waxy bumps on the surface of the skin
Experts warn that the cancer can form in the ear, eye, under your fingernails, or even in your buttocks.
Skin cancer has been in the spotlight in recent days after X-Men star Hugh Jackman revealed in recent days that he could be suffering from the condition. I THAT IT WAS GIVEN ALL SMALL?
Overall, there are about 5.4 million cases of skin cancer in the US each year, with 9,500 people dying from the disease.
White people, the elderly, and those who don’t have skin cancer are most at risk — because of their weaker immune systems and lighter pigments.
Melanoma is responsible for about 8,000 of these deaths each year, despite only accounting for 90,000 cases.
The cancer develops when melanocytes in the skin begin to grow out of control, creating a tumor that can interfere with bodily functions.
This often happens due to excessive UV radiation from the sun damaging the DNA of melanocytes, opening the door for a cancerous mutation.
If caught early, the cancer is relatively harmless and can be removed quickly.
But melanoma can spread if it goes unnoticed. Cancer cells can find their way into the bloodstream and settle in other parts of the body.
When this happens, the cancer begins to spread to other parts of the body – called metastasis.
At this point, surgically removing the cancer is challenging and a person will instead be subjected to treatment such as chemotherapy, which has serious side effects.
While they can also be deadly, basal cell or squamous cell cancers are not believed to be much of a concern.
Basal cell cancer is the most common cancer in the US, with 3.6 million cases per year. They are usually easy for a doctor to spot and quick to remove, as it almost always appears as a brown waxy spot on the skin.
Squamos cell carcinoma is also rarely fatal. It will usually appear as a red-colored birthmark. Doctors can usually just remove it.
While the vast majority of these cases will appear on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, experts warn that the tumor growth can occur in areas that a person would not normally check.
In the anus
The buttocks are usually covered and receive little sun exposure, but both basal cell cancer and melanoma can develop around them.
Anorectal mucosal melanoma is a rare but deadly cancer that appears in a person’s anus.
It makes up less than one percent of melanoma cases in the US, but it is especially difficult to diagnose because of its location.
It is usually diagnosed at a later stage through a biopsy.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology reports that only 14 percent of people live at least five years after diagnosis.
Another cancer in the region, perianal basal cell carcinoma, develops around the anus.
It is not usually caused by sun exposure, but is instead linked to smoking. The cancer is more common in men and the elderly.
The cancer usually appears as a pale or yellow scar in the area, or as an open sore that will heal continuously and then return.
Cases are extremely rare, with a 2018 University of California, San Diego report writing just that There were then 28 cases ever recorded.
Under the thumbnail
Another rare but deadly form of melanoma can form under a person’s thumb nail.
Subungual melanoma accounts for about one percent of melanomas in the US each year, but can be fatal if it spreads.
Scientists aren’t sure why this cancer develops, but it almost always occurs in a person’s thumb or big toe.
It will show up as a black or brown discoloration under a person’s nail.
Sometimes a person may also experience swelling in their affected appendage as their body’s immune system attacks cancer in the area.
Doctors often test for cancer using a biopsy if it shows discoloration or swelling over a long period of time.
In the ear
All three types of skin cancer can appear in the ear, each presenting in similar ways.
Almost all cases of ear cancer first start out as skin cancer. However, there are rare cases, with only about 300 diagnoses per year in the US.
The cancers often appear as scaly skin, small white bumps, red spots, sores, or lesions that are colored black or brown.
In some cases, a person will get an earache or hearing loss. Another common symptom is fluid discharge from the ear.
Like many skin cancers, it usually occurs as a result of sun exposure, and many people miss their ears when they apply sunscreen before spending a day outdoors.
In the eye
Eye cancer is rare and usually occurs when the disease spreads from another nearby area. While rarely fatal, it can cause a person to go blind if left untreated for an extended period of time (file photo)
Eye cancer is rare in the US, but can be extremely dangerous and difficult to spot.
About 3,500 cases of eye cancer are diagnosed in America each year, with nearly all cases being ocular melanoma.
These cancers often start in other parts of the body, such as a mole on the skin of the face or in the ear, before progressing to the inside of the eye.
Cancer spreads when malignant cells enter the bloodstream and are carried to a new part of the body where they settle.
However, cases rarely lead to death. Melanoma in the eye does not spread to other parts of the body – which is how skin cancer usually leads to death.
People diagnosed with eye cancer will live at least another five years in 95 percent of cases.
But without proper treatment, the cancer can eventually lead a person to go blind.
It can be removed through surgery or through cryotherapy techniques that freeze and remove the surface of the growth.
Under the tongue
Cancer that forms under the tongue — or floor of the mouth cancer, as some experts call it — is more common than one might think.
About one in 60 men and one in 141 women will develop oral cancer throughout their lives. One-third of oral cancers are skin cancers that form on the floor of the mouth.
Many of these cases occur in people who use chewing or dipping tobacco or consume large amounts of alcohol.
The substances damage the DNA of a person’s oral tissues, opening the door for potentially cancerous growth.
This cancer is easy to detect and easy to treat. A person will often experience painful sores under their tongue
It can be easily removed with minimally invasive surgery. Oral cancers are not very deadly if caught early and prevented from spreading, with 73 percent of patients living for at least five years after diagnosis.
Scalp cancer is common, but can often go unnoticed because a person’s hair blocks signs of growth (file photo)
On the scalp
Skin cancer on the scalp is more common than one might think, but often goes undetected because it is covered by the hair.
Any of the three types of skin cancer can appear on the scalp. Like other types of skin cancer, it can develop after prolonged exposure to the sun.
It will appear as a mole, sore, sore, or other type of unusual growth.
Interestingly, these cases are sometimes first discovered by a barber or barber who notices an unusual bump or sore while working on someone’s head.
If the cancer is caught early, it can be removed quickly and further spread prevented.
But it can prove deadly if allowed to jump to other parts of the body.