Feet and Cancer

Most people don’t realize that cancer can occur in the feet. In fact, several types of cancer can occur in feet and toes, including skin cancers, such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Other cancers include verrucous carcinoma, which is related to plantar warts, and Kaposi’s sarcoma, which can occur in European, Mediterranean or Jewish men.

You may wonder how you can get skin cancer when your feet are covered up most of the time. Sun exposure is not the only factor in the development of skin cancer. Certain types of cancer run in families. Other skin cancer risks include exposure to certain chemicals (arsenic), having fair skin and light hair, having had prior skin cancers, having multiple moles, and exposure to high levels of radiation.

People often ignore spots and moles if they don’t hurt. Unfortunately, this type of thinking is a mistake. Sometimes spots hurt and bleed and sometimes they don’t. Many precancerous lesions can be removed before they become malignant, if only people would pay attention to any changes to spots or to new spots or growths on their feet.

To be proactive, I recommend you perform a monthly self-examination of your feet. Inspecting your feet involves looking for unusual spots top to bottom, toe to heel and between the toes. Take notice if you see anything out of the ordinary, such as:

  • Any discoloration, including red, purple, brown, white or black spots
  • Raised areas of skin
  • Moles of irregular shape
  • Bleeding, itchy or oozing spots
  • Warts that smell bad
  • Sores or bruises that don’t heal
  • Dry, scaly patches
  • Fast-growing corn tissue
  • New, abnormal tissue growth

Whenever you notice an unusual lesion, injury or spot on your feet, there is no reason to panic. Simply pick up the phone and call us to make an appointment.