May is National Skin Cancer and National Melanoma Awareness Months and with our patients gearing up to hit our beautiful Nassau and Suffolk County beaches we at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group PC thought this was the perfect time to address this important issue.
Who’s At Risk?
Unfortunately, skin cancer doesn’t discriminate. All ages, ethnicities and sexes can contract skin cancer. Melanoma is the rarest kind of skin cancer but the most deadly and cases of this type of cancer are on the rise. There are certain factors, however, that can increase your risk of getting skin cancer. These include:
·Having fair skin, blonde or red hair and light eyes
·History of bad sunburn, particularly during childhood
·Living in an area with above average sun and UV radiation exposure
·Having numerous moles, growths and freckles on your body
·A weakened immune system
·Personal or family history of skin cancer
The good news is there are a number of steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer on your feet (and the rest of your body):
Check—Get in the habit of inspecting your skin monthly. Skin cancer on the feet is often not detected until it is in the later stages because patients don’t check their feet and ankles for skin changes. Learn to recognize signs of moles that need to be checked: A-asymmetrical shape, B-borders that are irregular, C-multi-colored moles and growths, D-diameter that’s bigger than a pencil eraser, E-evolving by getting bigger or thicker.
Apply—Use sunscreen whenever you will be outside, even for a day of shopping or sight-seeing if you are wearing sandals or flip flops. At the beach or pool apply sunscreen every few hours and especially after swimming. Don’t forget the bottoms of your feet too.
Avoid—Tanning beds can increase your risk of skin cancer by up to 75%. It’s also a good idea to avoid sports and other outdoor activities during peak sun hours.
If you are in a high risk category for skin cancer or just want to know more about protecting the skin on your feet our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko will be happy to meet with you. Contact our Lake Success or Valley Stream office for an appointment.