When it Comes to Melanoma and Skin Cancer Screenings, Don’t Forget Your Feet

I recently got a call from a man in Arizona who found my name on the internet while he was researching some skin cancer facts. He had seen that I had a particular clinical interest in the early diagnosis of melanoma on the lower extremity, and the foot in particular.

He asked me if when he goes to his dermatologist, should he have his feet looked at. It is interesting that many people do not consider the foot as a place that skin cancer, or for that matter, any kind of cancer can occur. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Melanoma is particularly common on the lower extremities, certainly as common as any other body location. Melanoma on the foot, specifically has been reported to have a poorer prognosis than melanoma on the lower leg or thigh. This is because they are usually diagnosed at a later stage, where the tumor is more likely to spread or metastasize. Therefore, it is critical that in any dermatology skin cancer screening exam, that the entire body is examined from scalp to toes, especially in between the toes and the bottom of the feet. Any new pigmented lesions on the skin of the feet should be examined by a physician to determine if a biopsy is required.

This is the best way to insure that lesions are diagnosed at earliest stages, where the chance for cure is much greater.

To learn more about melanoma and skin cancer, visit Mount Sinai’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center.

Dr. Bryan C. Markinson, DPM

One thought on “When it Comes to Melanoma and Skin Cancer Screenings, Don’t Forget Your Feet

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    June 4, 2013 at 11:06pm

    I am curious to know if skin cancer on the foot is common or is it just that it is more deadly because it is usually not diagnosed until much later than other places? There seems to be a discrepancy in the articles that I am reading and I was hoping you could shed some light on this? Also, is it necessary to apply sunscreen to the bottom of your feet when you will be walking around in flip flops or is it sufficient to apply it only to the skin that is exposed?

    Thanks in advance for your help,

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