Skin cancer is on the rise among young people
Melanoma, the potentially fatal form of skin cancer increased eightfold for women under 40 and fourfold among young men since 1970, according to research out of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The researchers suggest that tanning along with better detection may be driving the uptick. What’s more, melanoma in children, while still extremely rare, increased about two percent per year from 1973 to 2009 among U.S. children from newborns to age 19. And it’s not just melanoma either, says Andrew C. Krakowski, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at DermOne, LLC in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. “I took care of two five-year olds with a syndrome that caused them to make basal cell skin cancers—about 500 of them each!” Find out what skin cancer looks like.
You can get skin cancer in your eyes
Ocular or eye melanoma can present as a freckle inside the eye, says San Diego, Calif.-based dermatologist Mona Z Mofid, MD, also the medical director of the American Melanoma Foundation. There are around 2,000 new cases of eye melanoma diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation. “The eyelid area is also a common site for other types of skin cancer such as basal cell and squamous cell and these often go unnoticed,” Dr. Mofid says.
Skin cancer can develop where the sun doesn’t shine
Places like the underside of the penis, inside the vagina, and in the crease of the buttocks can and do develop skin cancers, says New York City dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Michelle Henry, MD, also a Clinical Instructor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. And if you have ever wondered why your dermatologists spreads your toes during your annual skin cancer check, it’s because, yes, melanoma can turn up there, as well, adds New York City dermatologist Dendy E. Engelman, MD. “I have diagnosed Invasive melanoma between the toes of a 64-year-old lady,” she says.
“I found a pigmented basal cell carcinoma in a 50-year-old Hispanic woman’s arm pit which looked just like a skin tag, but the clincher was that it kept growing and would bleed time and again,” says Adam Friedman, MD, an Associate Professor of Dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Hospital in Washington DC. “This is why it is so important to have yearly skin checks so that a trained professional can look at every nook and cranny where one can’t or would not even want to look,” he says.