May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to think about the ways skin cancer can affect our feet. Feet don’t usually come to mind when we consider the places cancer strikes – and yet, our feet are highly susceptible to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
Types of skin cancer on the feet
The three most common kinds of skin cancer are
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma
Squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas are most often confined to one area. Melanoma, on the other hand, has the capacity to spread far and wide and as such it can be a very deadly form of cancer.
How to detect skin cancer of the feet
The key to finding skin cancer on your feet may be just not to overlook them. When you’re checking out the rest of your body, examine your feet as well. Look on the soles of your feet as well as the tops. Check out your toenails and look in between your toes. What are you looking for? In a word – lesions. Lesions are any sort of disruption of the skin. It could be a bump, a red spot, a scaly patch, a mole that wasn’t there before, a freckle that’s changed color.
If you find a lesion, use the ABCDE method to evaluate it:
- Asymmetry – one side is not like the other
- Borders – edges that are irregular or uneven
- Color – the color isn’t consistent, or the colors recently changed
- Diameter – be suspicious if the lesion’s wider than 6 millimeters
- Evolution – has anything about this lesion changed or evolved since last you looked at it?
If you find anything suspicious, take the “see something-say something” approach and contact Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center as soon as possible. Here’s why: melanoma can be deadly, but not if it’s caught early. In its early stages, melanoma is eminently treatable.
Protect your feet by performing regular skin checks, and teach those you love to do the same. If you have any questions about cancers of the feet or any other aspect of foot health, give us a call at (703) 996-3000. Make an appointment at our office in Centreville, VA by clicking here.