Check Your Feet for Skin Cancer
Many people don’t realize that they can get skin cancer on their feet, even on the heels. Skin cancer is often associated with excess sun exposure, and some people are more susceptible to sun damage than others. Individuals with lighter skin, hair and eyes will burn more easily and may be more vulnerable to developing skin lesions and cancer. However, UV exposure is not the only factor involved in developing skin cancer, so even though your feet may rarely be exposed to the sun, you still need to check them for unusual looking lesions.
Potentially deadly skin cancers such as melanomas can have the appearance of benign conditions such as plantar warts, ulcers, blisters, and ingrown toenails, so it’s always a good idea to have these evaluated by your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. A skin biopsy may be performed to check for skin cancer.
Two other factors that may increase your chances of getting skin cancer on your feet include:
- Poor immune system function—When your immune system is compromised by viral infections such as AIDS or the human papillomavirus (HPV), it makes it more difficult for your body to defend itself against malignant growths. Having transplant surgery may also weaken your immune system. Acral lentiginous melanoma, cancer that grows on the soles of the feet and underneath the toenails, is more likely to occur in people with compromised immune systems.
- Chemicals and other contaminants—Exposure to harsh chemicals that can cause burns. Being exposed to environmental chemicals released by industries such as refineries and power plants can damage your skin’s DNA, thereby increasing the risk of lesions and cancer developing.
If you have any worrisome growths or lesions on your feet, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!