May is National skin cancer awareness month…. Before you begin basking in the sunshine of another summer, keep in mind that the sun may, in some instances, lead to the development of various forms of skin cancer on your feet, some of which may be deadly. In addition, though most skin cancers arise as the result of persistent sun exposure, this is not necessarily true when such tumors arise on the skin of the foot. Rather, in addition to the sun, skin cancers on the foot may also arise as the result of viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, or simply inherited traits.
Skin cancers of the feet have several features in common. For instance, most are painless, and in many cases there is a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration. Some of the most common cancers of the lower extremity are squamous cell carcinoma (the most common form found on the foot), basal cell carcinoma, and one of the most deadly cancers known to man, malignant melanoma. It's estimated that over 70,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed every year, with estimates of 9,000 deaths due to this disease. Melanomas are not uncommon on the skin of the feet. Though this form of cancer may be deadly, it is important to remember that melanoma like other forms of skin cancer can be cured if detected and treated early.
Know the ABCDEs of skin cancer. A-Asymmetry-one side of a lesion is not a mirror image of the other. If divided in half, the sides do not match. B-Border- the edge of lesion may be scalloped, uneven or ragged. C-Color- there may be a range of colors within a single lesion, with tan, black, red, blue, etc. D-Diameter- most will have a diameter of over 6mm (wider than a pencil eraser). E-Elevated-the lesion is raised above the surface and is uneven. If you notice a mole, bump, or patch of skin that seems unusual, please make an appointment as soon as possible. Usually a simple office procedure is performed to obtain a small sample of the lesion in question which is then sent to a skin pathologist for identification. We’re here to help so please contact us if you have any questions. Enjoy your summer.
Drs. Freireich and Weiss
FootCare Consultants of Cleveland