Skin cancer is often associated with excessive sun exposure and so it frequently affects the head, neck, face, and hands. But your feet are also susceptible to developing a variety of cancers some of which can be caused by viruses, chemicals, and inflammatory conditions, so always keep this in mind when you do your foot inspections.
Skin cancers on the feet can resemble and be confused with other skin lesions such as warts, eczema, and common fungal or bacterial infections so it is important to have your podiatrist do a complete exam and possibly a biopsy to rule out malignant tumors.
Three cancers that may strike your feet include these:
- Malignant melanoma—This is perhaps the most lethal type of skin cancer. It can be hard to detect due to its tendency to grow deeper into the skin and surrounding tissue where it can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes. Malignant melanomas can even grow on the soles of the feet and underneath the toenails.
- Basal cell tumors— These can take on the appearance of ulcers and lesions and are thought to be caused by UV exposure which makes them less common on the feet. Even though this is considered to be the least aggressive of skin cancers, if left untreated it can spread and eventually require aggressive intervention. Always have any bumps or recurring wounds on your feet inspected by your foot doctor.
- Squamous cell cancer—These lesions have a remarkable resemblance to plantar warts, so always have any warts properly evaluated to rule out squamous cell carcinoma.
Suspicious or unusual looking skin conditions should be evaluated by your foot doctor to prevent the spread of cancer. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide attentive, high-quality podiatric care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area. Please contact us at our convenient offices in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA for more information or to schedule an appointment.