Malignant melanoma is a dangerous type of skin cancer, but the good news is it can be prevented and even cured if detected early.
Prevention, of course, is easier than correction. As the summer sun heats up, make sure you are applying sunscreen everywhere, even your feet! Many people think that the bottoms of their feet are not exposed to the sun’s rays, but cancer can affect this area just as easily. The three most common areas for foot melanoma are the soles, between the toes, and around or under toenails.
Routine foot self-exams will allow you to catch a mole, freckle or spot that may look suspicious or new. Melanoma can affect people of all ages, race, and ethnicity.
Next time you kick off your socks, inspect these commonly overlooked areas on your feet. Do you notice any new spots or changes? When conducting a foot self-exam, think ABCDE (see below), and contact your podiatrist if you spot anything abnormal.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection
A: Asymmetry. Divide the spot in half. Do both sides look the same?
B: Borders. Are the edges of the lesion ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular? Does the color spread into surrounding areas?
C: Color. Is the color uneven or different from one area to another? You might see black, brown, tan, or even white, red, pink, gray or blue.
D: Diameter. Is the lesion larger than the eraser of a pencil? Lesions larger than about 6mm should be checked out by your doctor.
E: Evolving. If the area changes in any way, contact your doctor right away to get examined.
If you are worried, or uncertain, it’s always better to get in to see your doctor sooner than later. At Toe-Tal Foot & Ankle Care, we have the capabilities to identify suspicious lesions and take a biopsy in our office.
Wear your sunscreen, check your feet, and call our office if you have any questions or need an appointment, (817) 656- 0303.
Written by Dr. Shannon Cairns
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