5 Strange Places You Can Get Melanoma

Think melanoma strikes only the typical sun-exposed areas of your skin? This deadly cancer can surface in surprising places, says dermatologist Christine Poblete-Lopez, MD:

Your belly button
Melanoma arises from melanocytes (cells that give us pigment). They are everywhere you’ve got skin. So, although it’s rare, melanoma can develop in your belly button, armpits and groin.




Under your nails
Yes, you also have melanocytes in your nail beds, feet and hands. Melanomas in these areas are more aggressive, likely due to a delay in diagnosis. They are more common among Asians and African-Americans.

Your eyes
Melanocytes also inhabit the colored iris of your eye, and you can develop melanoma there. When anyone develops melanoma, routine eye checks are as vital as skin checks.

Your mouth
It’s rare, but melanomas can develop in your body’s mucous membranes. These line your mouth, throat, genitalia, urinary tract, anus and rectum.

Your scalp
A full head of hair helps protect your scalp from the sun. But once hair starts to thin, melanoma can develop there, especially on the crown of the head.

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