Memorial Day weekend is the official start of summer, and at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC we know that means many of our patients will be spending time at our beautiful Long Island beaches. Skin Cancer Awareness month couldn’t come at a better time!
Below are the three of the most common types of cancer that can affect your feet:
Malignant Melanoma—this is one of the deadliest skin cancers. Melanomas can develop on the top or soles of your feet or between the toes. They can also form beneath a toenail. Part of the problem with melanomas is that they can appear in many forms—and that’s why it is known as “The Great Masquerader.” There are signs you should look for in a mole or lesion:
- Asymmetrical—if you were to draw a line down the center, both halves do not match
- Irregular Borders—jagged, notched or scalloped edges
- Multi-colored or a mottled appearance
- Diameter of ¼” or larger (about the size of a pencil eraser)
- Evolving or changing—if a mole, freckle or lesion gets larger, changes in shape or color, starts to bleed, itch or get crusty
Squamous Cell Carcinoma—the form of cancer that most commonly occurs on the skin of the feet is squamous cell. It usually begins as a small scaly bump and may look red and inflamed. It may also crack or bleed. It can also look like a fungal infection, eczema, or a plantar wart. It is usually not painful but may be itchy.
Basal Cell Carcinoma—this type of skin cancer most often appears on sun-exposed skin. It can appear as pearly white patches or bumps that may look like an open sore which can ooze or crust. Since for much of the year your feet are covered, this type of cancer is less common on the feet. However, with summer sandals and open shoe styles and days coming up at the beach and pool, it is essential to follow the same skin care protection regimen that you use on the rest of your body. Apply a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to reapply after swimming and try to avoid being out during the hottest time of the day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you find anything on the skin of your feet that you think looks suspicious, contact our Valley Stream or Lake Success office by calling: (516) 825-4070 or (516) 327-0074. Our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko will examine the skin on your feet and determine whether what you’ve found is cancerous or not.