Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that originates in the cells that produce pigmentation (coloration) on the skin. It is a dangerous form of cancer that can spread to other parts of the body if not detected and treated in its early stages. What many people don’t know is that melanoma can also occur on the feet and the ankles, causing much damage before it is detected.
Malignant melanoma of the foot is often difficult to detect in its early stages. People often ignore their feet when managing their skin health, assuming that they are not at risk of developing melanoma because they are not exposed to the sun as much as other areas of the skin. However, melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, not just where it has been exposed to the sun.
Many factors increase the risk of developing melanoma, including having fair skin, skin that freckles or burns quickly, and numerous moles, especially if they appeared at a young age. People who had blistering sunburns during childhood or adolescence are also at an increased risk of developing melanoma.
Melanoma on the foot usually appears as a spot that is predominantly brown, black, or blue. However, in some cases, it can also be mostly red or even white. It is essential to pay attention to any new spots or discoloration on the feet, especially if they have been growing or changing. A self-examination using the ABCD rule is recommended to detect signs of melanoma on the feet.
The ABCD rule stipulates that melanomas are usually Asymmetric, meaning one half is different in shape from the other half. It also specifies that the Border is typically ragged, notched, or blurred, and the Color is a mix of colors, rather than a single, solid color. Finally, the Diameter of melanoma spots is usually larger than 5 millimeters, the size of a pencil eraser. If any of these signs are present on the foot, it is essential to visit a foot and ankle surgeon right away.
A foot and ankle surgeon can diagnose and treat melanoma of the foot. During the diagnosis process, the surgeon will examine the spot, determine whether a biopsy is necessary, and discuss the treatment plan if melanoma is detected.
Prevention and early detection are crucial in fighting melanoma. It is recommended to inspect all areas of the feet daily, including the soles, underneath toenails, and between the toes. Wearing protective footwear such as shoes or water shoes instead of flip flops is also essential.
Applying adequate sunscreen in areas that are unprotected by clothing or shoes, including the soles of the feet, is crucial. Wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays, a wide-brimmed hat, and avoiding UV radiation during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) is also important.
Dr Gilbert Huang DPM is an experienced foot and ankle surgeon who can help you detect and treat melanoma of the foot. If you are concerned about any spots or discoloration on your feet or ankles, do not hesitate to contact Dr Huang for a consultation.
In conclusion, melanoma is a dangerous form of cancer that can affect anyone, even the young. Melanoma of the foot is often ignored but can be very damaging if not diagnosed early. Practicing prevention measures and following the ABCD rule when checking for signs of melanoma is important. Getting regular check-ups from a foot and ankle surgeon like Dr Gilbert Huang DPM is also recommended for early detection and treatment of melanoma. Remember, prevention and early detection are crucial in fighting melanoma.