With under 50 days left until Memorial Day, which is the official kick off of summer, flocks of people will be heading to the nearest beach.
The most important thing to remember when going to the beach, other than finding the ideal spot for your chair, is sunscreen! Sunscreen is critical in the long term protection of your skin. Cloudy or not, always be sure to check the UV index, as this is the determinant of how many of those critical rays will be reaching your skin.
At Healthy Feet Podiatry, we make it a point to perform a full skin check from the knees to the toes on all of our patients. The front and back of the legs, or the top of the feet are common locations for skin cancers. An uncommon spot for cancerous lesions to develop is under your toe nails, but if you should see a dark spot or line on your toenail, it should be checked by your podiatrist. Don’t excuse a dark spot under your toenail! To evaluate for skin cancers, always remember the A,B,C,D,E’s.
A: Asymmetry; Asymmetric borders (one part of the mole is bigger than the other) can indicate malignancy
B: Border; Irregular borders (jagged edges or ill-defined borders to a mole) can indicate malignancy
C: Color; Having a variety of colors can indicate malignancy
D: Diameter; The larger the lesion (greater than 1.0 centimeters), the higher likelihood malignancy may be present (use a pencil eraser for reference)
E: Evolving; If the mole has changed over time, malignancy should be considered.
Common skin cancers found on the lower extremity include, squamous cell, basal cell and melanoma. The first two, squamous and basal cell, are treated with excision and monitoring. Melanomas are much more serious and aggressive and should be treated immediately. If you have a mole or lesion on your lower legs or feet that has changed in shape, size, or color, call Healthy Feet Podiatry for a skin check. All it takes is a simple biopsy to ease your mind of any potential cancer spots!