Did you know that over 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year? In fact, it’s the most common kind of cancer. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we want to draw attention to this condition because, while the skin on your feet is just as susceptible as that on the rest of your body, many patients don’t think of their feet as a possible site for skin cancer.
Protect and Detect
The good news is that skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. It’s estimated that nearly 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85% of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. There are some simple ways you can greatly reduce or eliminate your risk of danger from the sun’s rays:
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and that has an SPF of 15 (30 is even better if you will be out for a long period of time). Use sunscreen on your feet even if you will just be out for a day of shopping and are wearing sandals or other open-style shoes that expose the skin on your feet.
- At the beach or pool, apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Never use UV tanning beds.
- Try to avoid the sun when it is at its strongest: between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
One of the most important ways to protect yourself is by conducting regular self-exams of your skin. For your feet, this means examining both the tops and bottoms. Be sure to also take the time to look between your toes. If you have any moles or freckles, note any changes in them. It’s helpful to remember the ABCD method of evaluating skin spots. Danger signs include:
B—borders that are uneven
C—colors that are mottled or multiple colors in one mole
D—diameter larger than ¼ inch (about the size of a pencil eraser)
If you notice anything suspicious looking on the skin of your feet, contact our Long Beach office (562-420-9800) for an appointment so that our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley or Dr. Constance Ornelas can examine your examine your feet and determine if further testing or evaluation is needed.