Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the skin that is exposed to the sun. Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer and can develop in places that aren’t normally exposed to the sun, such as your feet. Melanoma can affect individuals of all races and genders, which is why it is important to check your feet for signs of melanoma regularly especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of sun. There are different signs that you can look out for when you’re examining your body for melanoma. If you notice any brown or black vertical lines under your toenails, pinkish-red spots, growth where you injured your foot, rapidly growing mass on your foot, or a non-healing sore on your foot, then it imperative that you visit a skin care specialist.
When melanoma develops, it can sometimes itch, bleed, or cause your foot to be in pain. Melanoma is often mistaken for other things such as a wart or wound that refuses to heal. However, it is important to pay special attention to areas of your feet you have injured in the past. You want to ensure that you’re checking all areas of your foot, such as the top and bottom as well as in between your toes. Melanoma can also occur in your toenails. It is most common in the big toes of your feet. The cancerous cells underneath the toenails can look like purple, brown, or black bruises. These also tend to look like dark streaks that grow vertically in the nail like mentioned previously. Nail injuries will cause the nail to eventually grow out, but these streaks won’t go away if they’re melanoma.
Melanoma can affect anyone but there are those that are more at risk. Some of these individuals include having fair skin, being sensitive to the sun, having a history of at least one severe sunburn before the age of 18, having preexisting moles on your feet, having at least 50 moles throughout your body, and having a family history of melanoma or another type of skin cancer. Foot melanoma can be easier to treat if it is diagnosed early on. Melanoma is the most treatable at stage 1 and 2 when it is still in the top layer of the skin. Once it begins to spread and reaches stage 3 and 4 is when it becomes much harder to treat and can even be life threatening. Malignant melanoma is the most life threatening and can spread through the lymphatics and blood vessels. This skin cancer commonly begins as a small brown or black spot however one third of cases appear pink or red. In general, if there is any area of your body that is concerning, it is very crucial that you make sure to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.