Melanoma of the Foot

Melanoma is a serious skin cancer that can affect people of all ages.  Exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds can increase your risk of developing melanoma. However, melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, even on less sun-exposed areas such as the soles of your feet.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Change in an existing mole

  • Development of a new pigmentation that grows over time  – predominately brown, black or blue in color and in some cases red

 

To help identify characteristics of unusual moles or spots on the body use the mnemonic ABCDE:

  • Asymmetry – Melanoma is asymmetric

  • Border – Melanoma is will have an irregular border or edge that is typically ragged

  • Color – Melanoma is typically a mix or colors rather than one solid color

  • Diameter – Melanoma grows in diameter where benign moles remain the same size. A mole larger than 5mm, the size of a pencil eraser should be seen by a physician

  • Evolving over time – change in color, size, shape or symptoms (itching tenderness or bleeding)

 

Diagnosing Melanoma

To accurately diagnose melanoma a biopsy should be taken and analyzed by a pathologist

  • Punch biopsy – a tool with a circular blade is pressed into the skin around the suspicious mole or pigmented area to remove a round piece of skin

  • Excisional biopsy – the entire mole or pigmented area is removed

  • Incisional biopsy – only parts of the irregular mole or pigmented area is taken for analysis

 

Prevention

  • Use adequate sunscreen on areas of the body not covered by clothes or shoes

  • Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses

  • Wear water shoes that provide protection

  • Inspect your feet daily

  • Remove nail polish to inspect the toenails

 

Early detection of malignant melanoma is key. If you notice any changes in size of a mole on your foot or new pigmentations/discolorations come see us at Foot& Ankle Doctors, Inc.

 

Dr. Nejad

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