Skin Cancer: Early Detection is Key

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and at NY Foot Health we want patients to be aware that it’s a real risk for your feet, although maybe not in the way you think. Yes, your feet can be harmed by the UV rays of the sun (the primary cause of many cases of skin cancer) and for that reason, you should take care with applying sunscreen when your feet are exposed. But, when it comes to your feet, there are other causes that are more likely to result in the development of skin cancer. These include:

  • Viruses
  • Chronic inflammation or irritation
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Family history

Too often skin cancer on the feet is not caught until it is in an advanced stage because this area of the body tends to be overlooked when checking for skin abnormalities. It’s important to examine the skin on your feet monthly to check for any signs that skin cancer may be developing.

What to Look For

The tricky part about skin cancer on your feet is that it can appear as a rash or other common foot ailments that you would not consider serious. In fact, melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, is known as “The Great Masquerader.”

Use the ABCD’s of early detection when examining your feet:

ASYMMETRY—when a spot or legion is divided in half the two sides are not the same

BORDERS—irregular, ragged or scalloped borders

COLOR—multiple colors or a mottled appearance

DIAMETER—wider than a pencil eraser (6mm or ¼ inch)

If you notice any of these signs or a mole or freckle appears to be changing in size, shape, color or other characteristics, make an appointment with your podiatrist to get it checked out. If you need help finding a podiatrist, check our website for a directory. Podiatrists are trained lower extremity specialists and will be able to identify and prescribe the proper treatment for skin conditions of the feet and lower legs. To learn more about skin cancer and other podiatric issues, contact us or subscribe to our free e-newsletter.