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 don’t realize skin cancer can occur on the feet from unprotected sun exposure, and they 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 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 for the condition. But because people aren’t looking for the early warning signs or taking the same precautions they do for other areas of the body, skin cancer in this region often is missed entirely. Also, it is hard to see all the surfaces of one’s feet, even for flexible people.
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, and to have any suspicious areas promptly examined by a foot and ankle specialist. Because we all love to soak up the summer in southern Delaware, we have to be even more diligent with sunscreen, especially on our feet.