It’s finally May, and we’re all spending more time outside and enjoying the warmth and the sun after another long, brutal Ohio winter. However, May is also Skin Cancer Awareness month, and we need to remember that our skin pays the price for the enjoyment we get from blue, cloudless skies. And while sun worshippers are familiar with the dangers associated with UV damage on their face, chest, and back, it’s important to remember that skin cancer is particularly dangerous on your feet. Oftentimes, melanoma goes unnoticed by individuals with the telltale mole located on the sole of their foot- a surprisingly common place for skin cancer to appear. So, the next time you throw those sandals on, take a moment to apply sunscreen to and examine your feet.
People are generally aware of checking other parts of their body for suspicious moles but they're unlikely to examine their feet. We advise patients to check their feet daily for any changes. Even if you have limited mobility and can’t easily see the sole of your foot, you can place a mirror on the floor and check your foot for moles, lesions, cuts, or anything else that requires medical attention. Please focus on the three most common areas for foot melanoma: the soles, between the toes, and around or under the toenails.
Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body including areas that receive little sun exposure, such as the feet and ankles. If a mole, freckle or spot starts to change over the course of a month and becomes asymmetrical or changes its border, color, diameter or elevation, see a doctor immediately. Those are the ABCDEs, or signs, of melanoma.