Skin cancer found in unexpected places
Updated On: Dec 03 2013 11:00:00 PM EST
The sun shines an estimated 249 days a year in South Florida, and the cumulative effects of those damaging rays can be deadly.
"I think when you go to the beach, and you go to the pool, and you go golfing, play softball, you're riding your bike, you put sunscreen on. I think just walking to work, going to work during the day, that's when you're still getting hit in the sun," said Warren Schencker. "I had a little scab inside my ear that was irritating me, I kept scratching it, it would bleed, it would heal, I would scratch it, it would bleed. My wife told me to go to the dermatologist, did a biopsy, and sure enough it came back as cancerous."
"One in every five Americans is going to develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime," said Dr. Lesley Clark-Loeser, a dermatologist.
On some patients, skin cancer is popping up in the places they least expect it, like the hairline, the eyelid, between the toes, or the inside of the ear.
"Skin cancers can happen anywhere, anywhere on our body," said Clark-Loeser, who added that many people don't realize how much sun exposure they get in their daily routine.
"UVA rays are responsible for a good portion of our sun damage and you're getting that direct sun exposure -- passes right through the windshield -- and you're often unprotected at the end of the day," she said.
What may begin as a barely perceptible spot can lead to doctors needing to destroy surrounding tissue.
"When you have to remove something from the lip, it's front and center and there's not a whole lot of room to play with," said Clark-Loeser.
After Schencker's cancer was removed, plastic surgeons corrected his left ear.
Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen on all exposed areas and applying balms or lip glosses with SPF.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says 2 million Americans are diagnosed with at least one form of skin cancer every year.