Skin cancer is often attributed to excess sun exposure, and some individuals are more susceptible to the sun than others. If you have white, freckled skin, and light colored hair you are more likely to have sunburns which makes you more vulnerable to developing skin lesions and cancer, but many other factors are also involved.
Two other factors that may raise your chances of developing skin cancer are:
- Compromised immune system —Your immune system can be depleted by viral infections such as HIV, or HPV (human papillomavirus), which makes it harder for your body to defend against malignant growths and to discard abnormal skin cells. Acral lentiginous melanoma is a cancer that grows on the soles of the feet and even underneath the toenails, so you really need to have your foot doctor do a complete inspection, especially if you have a lowered immune response.
- Contamination from chemicals—Environmental exposure to chemicals that cause stinging and burns, and to the pollutants that come from power plants and other municipal sources, can damage your DNA leading to skin cancer.
Melanoma is a very common and often fatal type of skin cancer that is difficult to detect since it can look like other skin abnormalities such as warts, freckles, and moles. This cancer grows inward rather than spreading across the surface so it can reach blood vessels and lymph nodes where it moves to other parts of the body in an unfortunate process called metastasis.
Melanomas can also have the same appearance as plantar warts, small ulcers, and blisters so see your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, use their expertise in foot and ankle care to provide accurate diagnoses. Their individualized treatment plans address a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA.