The skin on your feet and ankles is just as prone to skin cancer as the skin on the rest of your body. Now that summer is here, it’s important to remember to apply sunscreen to your feet, and not just when you’re at the beach or pool. Even a day of running errands in flip flops or open sandals can result in a considerable amount of sun exposure. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we want our patients to be informed about skin cancer on their feet and proactive about spotting and preventing it.
Three Kinds of Skin Cancer
There are three types of skin cancer that can develop on the foot:
Basal Cell Carcinoma—this is the most common kind of skin cancer and also the least dangerous because it is so slow growing and rarely spreads or metastasizes. It appears as a smooth, raised bump on the skin of the foot or may manifest as a sore that is not healing.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma—more threatening than basal cell, symptoms of this type of cancer are thick, red, scaly patches or a bleeding ulcer on the foot. Squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma—this form of cancer is the most dangerous. It can spread aggressively and ironically, while it accounts for only 1% of all skin cancers, it causes nearly 60% of deaths caused by skin cancer, mostly because it is not caught in its early stages. On your foot, use the ABCD method of checking for spots on your skin that may be cancerous: A—asymmetric shape of the spot, B—border is irregular, blotched or blurred, C—color of the spot is mixed not solid; black, brown and blue are most common melanoma colors, although red and white are found as well, D—diameter of the spot appears to be increasing.
If you notice any of these signs on your toe, foot or ankle, contact our Somers Point office for an appointment with Dr. Paul S. DeMarco immediately. Since the majority of melanomas are the result of overexposure to UV radiation, avoid tanning beds and cover your feet or be diligent in sunscreen application. If you have additional questions about skin cancer and your feet, call us at (609) 927-4894.