By Sahiba Singh, DPM, AACFAS
When at the pool or lake, we all lather up with sunscreen to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. But do we remember to apply sunscreen to our feet? Many of us don’t realize skin cancer can occur on the feet from unprotected sun exposure, and overlook applying sunscreen to the area. Skin cancer of the foot is prevalent and can even be fatal if not caught early.
While all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, can be found on the foot, the most common is the most serious form, melanoma. Symptoms of melanoma can be as subtle as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle found anywhere on the foot, and often go unnoticed without routine foot exams.
Early diagnosis is key to effective treatment of the condition. Because people aren’t looking for the early warning signs or taking the same precautions as they do for other areas of the body, often times skin cancer on the foot is not diagnosed until later stages.
I advise my patients to regularly inspect their feet, including the soles, in between their toes and even under their toenails, for any changing moles or spots. It is very important to have any suspicious areas promptly examined by a foot and ankle specialist.
The suspicious lesions can often be biopsied in the office and sent for evaluation. If the biopsy returns as a cancerous lesion, the lesion would be surgically excised as soon as possible.
Flap closures may be attempted to mobilize surrounding skin and close the excised lesions immediately. These excision areas are not always primarily closed. This means, that at the location where the cancer was once present, a soft tissue deficit, or wound, may remain. Wound care would essentially bring the wound to close secondarily. Treatments for the wounds would typically occur in the office setting. Grafting is also a possibility to aid in the healing of the wound.
As long as adequate margins of the cancerous lesions are removed during surgery, the likelihood of additional surgery for the same lesion is low.
Referral to an oncologist is also likely to confirm any further non-surgical treatment for the cancerous lesion.
For more information regarding skin cancers on your feet, contact Dr. Sahiba Singh, DPM at Family Foot & Leg Center in Fort Myers.
Dr. Singh’s vast knowledge and experience in podiatric medicine and care is accredited to her successful completion of Podiatric Residency from the Geisinger Community Medical Center. She received her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University. She is licensed and certified with both the state of Florida and Pennsylvania, and is an associate member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
Dr. Singh is accepting new patients by calling 239-430-3668 (FOOT) or through the patient portal at www.NaplesPodiatrist.com