The warmer weather has helped us all feel better as we slowly, cautiously crawl out of our COVID-19 hibernation. Health experts agree that enjoying outdoor activities is a good thing when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus. But board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm warns that spring and summer fun in the sun is not without risks to your skin – including cancers of the feet and ankles.
Minimize your risk of squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma of the feet with these four tips:
- Know your risk factors. These include a family history of skin cancer, fair skin, the presence of many moles, and frequent bad sunburns before the age of 18.
- Know what to look for. Make a habit of performing regular foot self-exams. Frequent examination of your feet gets you familiar with what’s normal for your skin and what’s changed. Some examples of changes: a flat mole you’ve always had looks bigger; you notice a brown spot now looks reddish; a round mole has developed jagged edges. To help you spot suspicious changes, remember the acronym “ABCD” and look for changes such as Asymmetry, irregular Borders, Color changes, and growth in Diameter.
- Use sunscreen. People often absentmindedly overlook their feet when applying sunscreen. Protect the skin of your feet with an SPF of 30 or more, just as you do the rest of your body.
- Don’t put off care. Early treatment of skin cancer, no matter where it is on your body, is important. With melanoma, early detection and treatment can mean the difference between life and death. So, report anything suspicious as soon as possible. At Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, we treat all aspects of foot and ankle care, including suspicious lesions of the skin, for our patients throughout Fairfax County, Virginia and the western suburbs of D.C. Contact us online or call our Centreville office at (703) 996-3000 for an appointment.