Cancer that starts in the cell of your skin and produces pigmentation is known as melanoma. Melanoma that shows up in the foot or ankle area tends to be ignored by many people during its early stages. This is unfortunate, as this is the time period where the cancer can be easily treated. By the time many podiatrists diagnose melanoma of the foot, it can become advanced. This usually leads to a higher mortality rate among patients who have melanoma in this area of their body. For this reason, it is vital that individuals of all ages go through preventative and detection measures for both their feet and other areas of their body.
Causes of Melanoma in the Foot
The majority of cases come from excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and from other sources, such as tanning beds. The level of exposure to UV rays that patients with this disease experience can range from a large amount in a short period of time to smaller chunks in a longer stretch of time.
Some of the risk factors for melanoma of the foot include the following elements:
- Red or blonde hair
- Fair skin
- Blistering sunburns in childhood and adolescence
- A large amount of moles
What Should I Look For?
These spots are usually black, blue, or brown. Occasionally, they could also be red or white. However, all discolored spots on your foot are not melanoma.
When deciding whether or not to see a podiatrist about a melanoma on your foot, look out for the ABCDs of melanoma:
Asymmetry: A mole on your foot may be bigger on one side than it is on the other.
Border: See a podiatrist immediately if the borders of the spot on your foot are ragged, blotched, or blurred in any way.
Color: Melanomas are usually a mix of colors.
Diameter: Unlike moles, melanomas grow in size. If the melanoma is larger than 5 millimeters, see a specialist immediately.
Detection and Prevention
Some of the ways that you can either prevent melanoma altogether or detect it early include the following precautionary measures:
- Protect your feet from the sun by wearing shoes and socks. Water shoes are also a good option.
- If you wear flip flops, put sunscreen on your feet.
- Inspect all areas of your feet daily.
Inspect the skin beneath your toes. If you wear toenail polish, remove it occasionally so you can have a closer look.