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Your Feet and Skin Cancer

Your Feet and Skin Cancer

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and while you would not think that you can get skin cancer on your feet, it is a possibility. Lathering up your feet is just as important as lathering up your legs, arms, and face.

Checking your feet is a good way for early detection of skin cancer. If an irregular shaped spot appears on your foot, check the rest of your body. Nearly half of the people who have a melanoma on their foot die within five years because the cancer had spread throughout their body. Early detection is KEY! Just because the spot does not hurt does not mean that it could potentially be a form of skin cancer.

Your Feet and Skin Cancer

More than half of the cases of skin cancer on the foot occur in blacks, but people with fair skin, or skin that freckles are also prone to skin cancer. If you have had blistering sunburns or many moles before the age of eighteen, you are a likely candidate as well.

Melanomas are the deadliest of skin cancers and can be found on any part of your foot or ankle. This type of cancer begins in the cells that produce pigmentation. It is known for spreading to other parts of the body.

There are three key areas to which you should pay attention on your feet: around and under the toenails (a spot that does not go away with time, like a bruised toenail would), the soles, and in between the toes.

Remember to look for the ABCDE’s of skin cancer:

A: Asymmetry: one half of the area is different than the other area.

B: Border: the edge, or border of the spot is irregular.

C: Color: a mix of colors rather than one solid color.

D: Diameter: a spot that continues to grow, or is large than five millimeters.

E: Elevation: the mole has a raised edge.

If you find a mole or spot that fits one or more of these criteria, you should seek the advice of a podiatrist for moles and spots on the foot. For other areas of the body you should visit a dermatologist. A podiatrist will ask you if the area has changed in the recent past. If the spot looks like it needs further examination, a podiatrist will perform a biopsy.

Your Feet and Skin Cancer

Prevention techniques include wearing water shoes or socks while outside or in the water. Remember that flip-flops do not count! Remove nail polish occasionally to see if there are any unusual areas on or under your toenails. Apply sun screen to your feet.

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