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Melanoma & Your Feet

“I didn’t know you could get skin cancer on your feet” it is a sentence podiatrists hear all too often. Most people will walk around all day in sandals without ever applying sunscreen to their feet. In this blog we’ll look at what to watch out for when you see an odd spot on your feet or ankles.

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that happens when pigment producing cells on the skin mutate and become cancerous. Melanoma cases have increased in recent years faster than other cancer rates. Melanoma is most common in people between the ages of 30 to 65, especially those with fair skin. While the back and shoulders are the most common areas to find a melanoma they can occur anywhere on the skin. Individuals with a family history of melanomas, as well as individuals who have moles form after the age of 30 are at a higher risk for developing a melanoma.

There’s a few simple rules when inspecting the skin for changes in color that have recently occured, it’s recommended you follow your ABCDE’s.

  • Asymmetrical – any lesion that does not appear as a circle.

  • Borders – if the edges of the lesion are irregular notched, or uneven

  • Color – if the lesion appears to be multicolor, watch out for white or blue, as these are especially bad

  • Diameter – any lesion with a diameter greater than 6 mm (about size of a pencil eraser)

  • Evolving – if the lesion appears to be growing

It should also be noted that any mole that bleeds, is numb, or if the surface area is crusty it should be inspected by a physician as well.

If you ever find a lesion that fits any of these criteria then you should see your physician as soon as possible. The physician will order a lab test called a biopsy to determine the exact nature of the lesion. Early detection and treatment of melanomas are a key factor for positive outcomes.

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