Myths about Skin Cancer

Before we say goodbye to the month of May, we at Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers want to acknowledge Skin Cancer Awareness Month and what it means for your feet. There are over 5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year in the United States and that number continues to rise. The irony of this is that skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of the disease. About 85% of melanomas and 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Let’s dispel myths about sun safety and the dangers of unprotected exposure and save lives.

“Skin cancer doesn’t happen on your feet.” The skin on your feet is just as vulnerable to damage from the sun as anywhere else on your body. Oftentimes, however, skin cancers on the feet are not diagnosed until they have reached an advanced stage because patients don’t expect cancer to occur there.

“Everyone gets sunburned once in a while. As long as you’re careful most of the time, you should be okay.” Unfortunately, each burn damages your skin and increases your risk for developing skin cancer in the future. Studies show that if you have had more than five bad burns, your risk for melanoma doubles.

“I thought I had a freckle on my foot, but it started bleeding and now it has a scab—must have been a bug bite.” Although usually painless, recurrent bleeding and cracking are signs of a potentially cancerous mole or freckle. Inspect skin regularly and know the other changes to moles that can signal a problem:

  • Increase in size or becoming more raised
  • Asymmetrical
  • Irregular borders
  • Mottled or varied colors contained in one spot
  • Overall diameter is larger than an eraser on the end of a pencil

If you notice any of these symptoms in a mole on your foot, contact our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office for an appointment. Our podiatrists Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw and Dr. Adam Thompson will examine your feet and determine if the mole needs further evaluation.

“Going to a tanning booth helps protect your skin before a tropical vacation as long as you use a good sunscreen during each session.” Going to a tanning booth is actually voluntarily subjecting yourself to a known carcinogen. Patients who first used a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75%.

Always apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet and between your toes when out in the sun wearing open sandals or with bare feet. If you find something suspicious on the skin of your feet, contact us immediately.

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