Rory Evans, Allure magazine
You may not think to look inside your belly button for a mole or suspicious lesion. But it might be a worthwhile peek. San Antonio dermatologist Vivian Bucay discovered a melanoma on her own stomach. Now cancer-free after 17 months of treatment, the doctor suggests regular checks of these often-overlooked areas:
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1. Scalp: "I can't tell you how many squamous-or basal-cell cancers and melanomas I've seen on the scalp," Bucay says. Not just along your part, either: She recommends asking your hairstylist to check every time you get a cut.
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2. Genital area: Since melanoma cells spread via the bloodstream, they really can occur nearly anywhere in the body, Bucay says-even where the sun don't shine. During your pelvic exam, ask your gynecologist if she notices any lesions.
3. Under toenails and fingernails: Unusual stripes or dark spots under the nails-except those caused by slamming your fingers in a car door-should be checked by a doctor, says Bucay.
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4. Behind your eyeballs: That's how tenacious and sneaky melanoma can be. It's uncommon to start on the back of your eye, but it can spread there. If you have a family history of skin cancer, Bucay recommends seeing an ophthalmologist for an annual examination.