You know where to check for breast cancer, but do you know where to check for skin cancer? Skin is the largest organ on our bodies, but it can be easy to overlook some spots. For instance, when was the last time your doctor took a good look at your feet? For that matter, when is the last time you looked at the bottoms of your feet?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.5 million cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Harmful sun rays often cause skin cancer, but skin cancer on the feet can also be related to viruses.
Take a few minutes to examine your skin and take a look at your feet. Don’t forget to look at the bottoms and in between toes. If you notice anything unusual, make an appointment to see your doctor.
“Most [skin cancers] are painless, but often there’s a history of recurrent cracking, itching, bleeding, or ulceration,” cautions Dr. Gary Stones, Podiatrist and New York State Podiatric Medical Association President. “These cancers often go undiagnosed until another issue presents itself near the affected site.” Podiatrists are trained to recognize skin conditions of the foot.
As with all types of cancer, early detection and treatment may result in a more positive prognosis.
Skin Cancer Warning Signs
On the foot, basal cell cancers can appear like noncancerous skin tumors or benign ulcers. Skin cancer on the foot can often look like plantar warts, fungal infections, eczema, or other dermatological conditions.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you notice:
- non-healing sores
- bumps that crack and bleed
- inflamed bumps
- nodules with rolled edges or scaly areas
- callous-like lesions
- ongoing itchiness
A skin biopsy can identify whether cells are cancerous or noncancerous.
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