May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is an important opportunity to spread awareness about the dangers of skin cancer. Although melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, does not commonly appear on the feet, when it is discovered it is often already in the advanced stages. Being able to recognize early signs of melanoma is vital for the best chances of successful treatment.
What causes foot melanoma?
Although exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation is typically linked to skin cancer, foot melanoma often forms on the soles and areas that may not be as exposed. Common causes of melanoma on the feet are related to viruses, chronic inflammation and stress, and genetic disposition.
What are the symptoms?
The early signs of foot melanoma typically involve changes in shape, size, texture, and color of existing or new moles or spots. Look out for the following warning signs:
- Asymmetry – uneven shape
- Border – ragged edges
- Color – different shades
- Diameter – more than 6mm
- Evolution – changes over time
In addition to the above signs, it is best to consult with a podiatrist if you notice:
- Sores that are slow to heal
- Persistent itchiness, redness or changes in sensation
- Spreading pigments to surrounding areas
A board-certified podiatrist can help diagnose foot melanoma and direct you to appropriate treatments. Early detection is key, so regularly inspecting the soles of your feet and other areas, as well as regular visits to a podiatrist are important.
At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists have access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin issues. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment today!