Can You Get Skin Cancer on Your Feet?


Warmer weather is upon us and the quarantines are lifting, people are heading out to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine again, while social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Remember to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays and to check your feet for any signs of skin cancer where it’s often overlooked. Cancer on the skin of feet is not primarily caused by UV light exposure but is often related to chemical exposure, chronic inflammation, and viruses. You should still use sunscreen lotion on your feet just as you do everywhere else your skin is exposed to sunlight.

Skin cancers of the feet tend to have several common elements. The tumors are mostly painless and there is frequently a history of skin conditions in the area that cause cracking, bleeding, and ulceration.

The most common types of cancers on the feet include the following:

  • Malignant melanoma—This cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly. It is called The Great Masquerader because it can look like many other skin conditions including benign moles, blood blisters, plantar warts, and bruises. It can even grow under a toenail and on the soles of the feet, which makes careful and regular foot exams essential to catch it early enough.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma—This is a less aggressive cancer caused by UV light that can affect the feet. It usually causes only local damage and doesn’t spread past the skin layers. The tumors can look like pearly white bumps and be crusty and oozing.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma—This is actually the most common type of skin cancer on the feet. It is painless but may cause itching of the small, scaly bumps that often resemble eczema, fungal infection, or other common skin conditions of the feet.

If you have any suspicious or even normal-looking lesions on your feet and ankles, get a check-up with your foot doctor to rule out skin 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 high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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