Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Protect Your Feet

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and here at Goldsmith Podiatry we want to take this opportunity to share some important information about this disease and your feet. Unfortunately, in many instances, skin cancers on the feet and toes are not detected until they are in advanced stages. The reason for this is twofold: patients don’t think about their feet in terms of protecting them from the sun and also the feet are often overlooked during skin exams as a potential site of skin cancer.

Safe Sun Tips

If your feet are exposed to the sun, they have the same risk as the rest of your body for being harmed by UV rays. Whether you’re outside all day wearing sandals or open shoes or if you are at the beach or pool, remember these tips:

  • Use a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, water-resistant is best.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming.
  • Do not use tanning booths! They can increase the risk of developing deadly melanomas by 74%.

Other Potential Causes

In addition to sun exposure, cancers on the skin of your feet can be caused by the following:

  • Chemical exposure
  • Prolonged inflammation or irritation
  • Family History
  • Viruses

The Importance of Self-Checks

Early detection of skin cancer greatly increases the chance for successful treatment and remission. Inspect your feet monthly and use the melanoma ABCD’s as a guide for what to look for:

A: Asymmetrical moles—those that are not identical on both sides when divided down the middle

B: Borders—irregular, notched, jagged or scalloped edges around a mole or lesion

C: Color—cancerous spots are more likely to be multi-colored and mottled in appearance

D: Diameter—widths of larger than ¼ inch or 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser) 

If you notice any of these signs or a mole or freckle is changing in size or shape or showing new symptoms such as bleeding, itchy or crusting over, it’s important that you bring it to the attention of our podiatrists, Dr. Howard Goldsmith and Dr. Rosanna Troia. Contact our New York office for an appointment by calling: (212) 877-1002.