Here in Cape May County, we at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM can’t wait for summer and a chance to get onto our beautiful Jersey shore beaches. This month, however, we are reminded of the potential dangers of sun exposure. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 and more skin cancers are diagnosed each year than all the other types of cancer combined. For melanomas—a form of skin cancer with a very high mortality rate--the number of melanoma cases diagnosed annually over the last decade has increased by 53%. The good news is that the survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected in its early stages is nearly 99%. Use sunscreen and check the skin on your feet and ankles (and the rest of your body) monthly, using the ABCDE method to help you look for warning signs:
A is for Asymmetrical—if you look at a freckle or mole on your foot and were to draw a line down the center of it, are the two halves identical? Benign moles are usually symmetrical.
B is for Borders—melanomas in their early stages tend to have edges that are uneven and jagged or may even look notched.
C is for Color—a change in color of mole, particularly to red, blue or white should get you on the phone calling our Somers Point office at: (609) 927-4894. That’s definitely a sign that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco should take a look at the mole. In general, benign moles are usually one color. Any spot that has multiple shades of black, tan and/or brown has a greater risk of being cancerous.
D is for Diameter—moles to be concerned about are those that are larger in diameter than 6 mm or ¼ inch—that’s about the size of an eraser on a pencil.
E is for Evolving—when you inspect your skin you should be looking for changes in existing moles: are they more raised, larger, a different shape, or is there something new about a spot, such as bleeding, itching or crusting? If the answer is yes, it’s best to get the spot checked. If you have any questions about the skin on your feet, toes or ankles, don’t hesitate to contact us.