By: Dr. Michelle Vi Nguyen

Holy Moly, it’s summer already!

May is Skin Cancer Prevention month and now that it’s officially sandal season, it is time to get our feet ready for some fun in the sun.

Do you always remember to put sunscreen on your feet? Skin cancers can occur anywhere, so we must be just as diligent in protecting the skin of our feet as everywhere else on our body.  

Don’t Be Fooled!

Skin mole on a human foot

Skin cancers are infamous for being great mimickers. For example, Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be mistaken for warts and blisters. Melanoma can appear as moles and freckles on the feet. If you notice a lesion on your foot that is undergoing changes such as size, shape, or pigmentation, you should consult your podiatrist to examine the lesion. Additionally, if you notice a lesion that is not responding to treatment, you should have your podiatrist take a look at it as well.

A Cautionary Tale

Several years ago, I had a patient who had been treating a “wart” for over a year. The “wart” was not getting better with conventional treatment. He finally came into the office and it was decided to biopsy the lesion. AMELANOTIC MELANOMA! I was absolutely heartbroken with the diagnosis and am still devastated that the diagnosis could have been prevented. Although melanoma is rare and treatable, I hope this story serves as a cautionary tale to not neglect new, changing, or stubborn lesions to your feet.

Trivia Fact

Bob Marley died from metastatic melanoma that started as acral lentiginous melanoma under a toenail.

Diagnosis and Treatment

At Southwest Austin Foot and Ankle Clinic, we can perform in office skin biopsies under local anesthesia. If you have a needle aversion, all our surgeons have privileges at surgery centers to remove lesions and masses under sedation.

If you notice something new or changing on your feet, please have it examined by a podiatrist. It could be a potentially lifesaving decision.

So… “Don’t worry, about a thing… ‘cause every little thing, is gonna be excised!” (bear with me, that was intended to be in the tune to “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley).

Stay safe, check your feet, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

More Reading:

https://www.apma.org/skincancersofthefeet

https://www.skincancer.org/get-involved/skin-cancer-awareness-month/