As summer officially kicks off and more of our Macomb County patients are heading outdoors, we at Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers wanted to offer some important reminders in recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is America’s most common form of cancer with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year. Skin cancer on the feet and toes often goes undetected in its early stages—when it’s most treatable—because people don’t expect to find it there. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most curable forms of cancer if it is caught early.
Skin Cancer Causes
Ultraviolet light from the sun is the primary cause of skin cancer. The skin on your feet is just as susceptible to the harmful effects of the sun’s rays as skin anywhere else on your body. However, when it comes to your feet, there are other causes that may be more prevalent. These include:
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Chronic inflammation and irritation
Know What to Look For
In many cases, skin cancer on the feet is painless, but there is often a history of bleeding, ulceration of cracking at the site. It’s particularly important to watch for new or changing moles or lesions on the feet. Warning signs for skin cancer include:
- Irregular borders
- Multiple colors
- A diameter of more than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)
- Changes in a mole—such as getting larger, beginning to bleed or be itchy
If you notice any of the above on a mole or lesion on your foot, contact our St. Clair Shores (586-779-6140) office to schedule a consultation with our podiatrists, Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw or Dr. Philip M. Watkins.
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of skin cancer, including:
- Avoiding prolonged periods in the sun during the hottest hours of the day—10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Using sunscreen whenever your feet will be exposed—even if it’s only for a short period of time.
- Never using tanning beds.
- Frequently examining the skin on your feet for any potential signs of cancer.