Skin cancer is an increasing problem across the country. Love of tanning, lots of outdoor activities, and insufficient use of sunscreen has given rise to more and more cases each year. What more people don’t realize is that their feet are not “safe” from these cancers—in fact, the lesions that appear on the lower limbs can be among the most deadly.
Developing a Tumor
This condition is a rapid, unrestrained growth of skin cells. This growth creates a mass that damages healthy tissue and can spread to other areas of the body, increasing the damage. While this condition is often related to damage from sun exposure, several other factors can be involved. Your environment, genetics, some viruses, and excessive smoking or alcohol consumption can all increase your chances of developing rogue skin cells. Any place where you have skin—including your feet—is susceptible to these cancers.
Growths of the Skin
Cancers of the feet are some of the most dangerous, because they often go unnoticed and undiagnosed until they spread. There are three main types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the least aggressive of the three. It usually stays in the skin and doesn’t spread. Typically, it looks like white patches or bumps. Sometimes it may appear to be an open sore as well.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer that appears in the feet. It starts slowly, but as it advances it becomes more aggressive and may metastasize to other areas of the body. It usually creates scaly patches or plaques on the feet. The affected area may or may not be inflamed and itchy. Malignant melanoma, however, is the most dangerous of all types of skin cancer. It can appear anywhere on the lower limbs, including underneath a nail, and has a high rate of spreading through the body. It can also be hard to detect, since it may resemble a regular mole or spot. The telling symptoms include an asymmetrical shape, irregular borders, color changes, and more than 6 millimeters across in diameter.
Eliminating the Threat
The key to resolving any cancer, but especially the skin cancers of the feet, is to catch the problem early. This allows doctors to treat the tumors before they spread and cause worse damage. You need to check your feet regularly and take note of any spots, moles, or freckles. If you notice changes or unusual lesions on the surface of your lower limbs or underneath your toenails, you need to have them examined immediately.
Dr. Noah Levine will carefully examine your lower limbs and use tests, such as skin biopsies, to determine if the lesion is cancerous or not. If the spot is cancer, it will need to be treated right away. There are a number of courses for managing the condition, though most will include surgically excising the tumor.
Cancer of any kind can be deadly, but skin cancer of the feet that goes unnoticed is particularly dangerous. Don’t ignore unusual spots or any other visible changes in your lower limbs. Instead, let us know here at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas so we can examine and treat it right away. You can submit a request through our website or call (702) 839-2010 to reach us.