Did you know that the number of cases of melanoma have tripled in the last 30 years? Melanoma is one of the most common kinds of skin cancer in America and also one of the deadliest. The good news is that it is highly curable when caught in the early stages. Here at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we feel it’s very important to get the word out about this disease because melanoma on the skin of the feet is often undetected until the later stages when it is more difficult to treat. This is partly because people don’t pay attention to the skin on their feet the same way they do to the rest of their body. Before hitting our beautiful Jersey Shore beaches, take a few moments to learn how to identify and protect yourself from melanoma.
Protect Your Feet from Sun Damage
Most of us wouldn’t think of spending a day at the beach without sunscreen on our face, arms, legs, chest and back but many people don’t remember to put sunscreen on their feet. It’s important to apply this protection to the tops and bottoms of your feet, especially if you are lying out on a beach blanket for any period of time. It’s a good idea to also apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet when you are wearing open shoes or sandals. Water shoes can also provide protection from the sun.
Check Your Feet Regularly
Use the ABCDE method of checking the skin on your feet:
A-Asymmetrical: look for moles, freckles or growths that are uneven in shape
B-Border: melanomas most often have an irregular border
C-Color: more than one color in a mole or growth is a warning sign
D-Diameter: moles or growths with a diameter bigger than a pencil eraser pose an increased risk
E-Evolved: changes in size or thickness of a freckle, mole, or growth are a cause for concern
If you notice anything unusual on the skin of your feet or ankles don’t think “it’s probably nothing.” Contact our Somers Point office and let our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco examine and evaluate what you’ve found.