In honor of skin cancer awareness month, we'd like to talk a little about skin cancer developing where you'd least expect it: your feet. Lower extremities are just as prone to cancer as the upper portion of the body, where we normally associate skin cancer with moles on the back, chest and ears. However, skin cancer appears with alarming regularity on the feet, especially with women. Because it's painless, it may often go undetected unless another ailment presents itself near the affected site.
Skin cancer is associated with sun exposure for good reason, and it's important to remember to protect yourself from damaging rays. Men and women alike often eschew leg coverage around this time of year in favor of shorts and skirts, as well as sandals. In doing so, they need to remember to apply a good sunscreen to the lower extremities, paying particular attention to the tops and sides of feet that are exposed when wearing sandals. Not only does this provide some level of insurance against skin cancer, it also protects sensitive feet from nasty sunburns and blisters.
Additionally, it's important to remember that skin cancer can occur even without exposure to UV rays. Viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, and inherited traits are all contributing factors. For this reason, even if your toes haven't seen the light of day in ages, you should still take time to check your feet regularly and see a podiatrist when you spot any skin abnormalities on your foot.
If you notice or have noticed a discolored bump, patch of skin, or mole on your feet or ankles that does not go away, take time to make an appointment with one of our podiatrists for a quick exam. Melanoma is not common, but occurs frequently enough and is deadly enough that close attention needs to be made to pigmented skin lesions. At the same time you should keep an eye on the rest of your skin as well, and see your family doctor or dermatologist if you notice something discolored or unusual.
Have you had a foot exam lately? If not, come in and see us today! Call us at 248-355-4000 to make an appointment with a friendly Southfield podiatrist.