Because May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Michael L. Rosenberg, DPM and Heidi M. Christie, DPM – the podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, Alabama – want you to know about skin cancer and your feet. When you wear open shoes or sandals, your feet are subject to the damaging, cancer-causing rays of the sun. Your feet are also susceptible to cancers that are not related to sun exposure.
Skin cancers of the feet
- Squamous cell carcinoma is a very commonly found on our feet. It can first appear as a hard callus-like projection or a small, scaly bump, and is often connected to having a history of cracking or bleeding feet.
- Basal cell carcinoma is usually caused by sun damage. It isn’t terribly aggressive and tends not to spread. It often begins as crusty patches of skin that may or may not ooze.
- Melanoma has been called the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s been linked to damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun, but other causes remain a mystery. Melanoma is quite treatable if you catch it early, but if allowed to spread it becomes difficult to find effective treatment.
Catching melanoma early The Skin Cancer Foundation provides a fantastic tool for detecting skin cancer. Using these “ABCDE warning signs of melanoma,” make a habit of checking your entire body, including your feet (top, soles, toes, and in between your toes) for moles or other dark spots according to these recommendations:
A is for Asymmetry. If you can visually cut a mole or a growth in half and the two halves match up in size and shape, then they are symmetrical. If they don’t match up, they are asymmetrical.
B is for Borders. Clearly defined, rounded borders are good. It’s a warning sign if the borders resemble the rocky coast of Maine.
C is for Color. Look within the mole itself for uniformity of color. Beware of a variety of shades of brown, tan, or black.
D is for Diameter. Usually, melanomas are larger than 6 millimeters (slightly less than ¼”)
E is for Evolving. Get to know the moles on your skin and watch them for changes in shape, size, or color.
One in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime. But you can avoid the perils of skin cancer with careful self-examination and regular checks by your doctor. If you have questions about skin cancer and your feet, don’t hesitate to call our experienced podiatrists, Dr. Rosenberg or Dr. Christie, at (334) 396-3668 or make an appointment online.