Tonawanda News


May 19, 2013

Skin cancer can be found in the most unlikely place -- your foot

Tonawanda News — The signs and symptoms of skin cancer might be well-known to some, perhaps as easy as your ABCs ... and Ds.

Any mole on the body that is Asymmetrical, has an uneven Border, an irregular Color or a large Diameter should be cause for concern.

But this May — Skin Cancer Awareness Month — the New York State Podiatric Medical Association suggests that people should look in an unlikely location for potentially cancerous spots on the skin: under and on top of your feet.

Melanoma on the foot is not all that common compared to other areas of the body, particularly those that get heavy exposure to the sun like the face, arms and shoulders, said Dr. James Hanna, the Western division president of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association.

“That’s why it makes it such a dangerous area,” he added. 

“People assume, ‘Oh, I can’t get cancer on my foot so I won’t pursue getting it checked out by a doctor,’ “ said Hanna, who has practices in both Lockport and Lewiston. “Some things get overlooked.”

Hanna said the ABCD method is a great tool for determining if a mark or mole might be cancerous, but warned skin cancer on the feet could masquerade as other, more typical afflictions of the foot like fungal infections, a plantar wart, eczema or ulcer. 

The important thing to look for, Hanna said, is when those typical afflictions don’t get better.

Hannah suggests visiting your primary care physician or a podiatrist if a foot problem “doesn’t respond to the kinds of remedies that should take care of it.”

The NYSPMA warns people to pay particular attention to changes in the foot, such as non-healing sores, bumps that crack and bleed, nodules with rolled edges or scaly areas. Dr. Gary Stones, NYSPMA’s president and a practicing podiatrist, said these things often go unnoticed.

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