Do You Know Your ABCD’s?

Residents of the Florida sunshine state are familiar with year round beautiful sunny weather. We learn at an early age to use sunscreen to avoid the sun’s harmful rays and skin cancer. Skin cancers of the feet are not necessarily related to excessive sun exposure. Skin cancers of the feet are more often related to viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation or inherited traits. Most of the time they are painless areas with a history of cracking, bleeding or ulceration.

The three most common are:

Basal Cell Carcinoma
One of the least aggressive skin cancers in the body.  Basal Cell cancers may appear as pearly white bumps or patches which may ooze or crust like an open sore.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Most common form of skin cancer on the feet. It often begins as a small scaly bump. Sometimes there is a history of cracking or bleeding.  It can look like a plantar wart, skin fungus or an ulcer.  Although usually painless, it may be itchy.

Malignant Melanoma
One of the deadliest skin cancers.   On the feet they may even occur on the toenails.  As it grows extending deeper into the skin, the more serious and life threatening it becomes.  Since its appearance can vary it is nicknamed “The Great Masquerader”. Although it can look like a common brown -black spot, it can also be pink or red.  When taking a closer look it may have an irregular border, changes in color and be bigger than 6mm. They can look like a mole, blood blister, ingrown nail, plantar wart, ulcer, bruise or foreign body.
Do you have a suspicious lesion on your feet?  Familiarize yourself with the ABCD’s.

A, B, C, D’s of Melanoma:

· Asymmetryof shape: one half does not look like the other

· Border is irregular: scalloped, ragged

· Color is uneven: multiple shades ranging from white to tan to brown to black occasionally some red as well

· Diameter is larger than 6mm in most cases

Remember skin cancer of the feet may have a very different appearance than those on the rest of your body. If your podiatrist suspects a skin cancer, a skin biopsy will be performed. This is a simple procedure in which a small sample of the lesion is sent to a specialized laboratory.  If you notice a suspicious mole, bump or patchy areas on the foot please have the area checked immediately!



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