April 11, 2019

Melanomas are truly a silent threat. Most of the time they develop without noticeable symptoms, and they can be camouflaged as moles and irregular freckles. Melanoma is almost always curable when detected at an early stage, so regular foot inspections are something we should all take seriously. Here are some important facts and numbers about foot melanoma.

Foot Melanoma: What Everyone Should Know, Part Two | Vet Organics

Reasons To Take Foot Melanoma Seriously

Although it might be a rare form of skin cancer, foot melanoma has some numbers that turn it into a considerable threat, reinforcing the importance of prevention and early detection:

  • Melanomas make up roughly 1% of all skin cancers.
  • Between 3 to 15 percent of melanomas appear on the foot.
  • Even though 3-15% of melanomas appear on the foot, this accounts for a higher number of deaths than any other form of skin cancer.

Like every other form of cancer,melanoma also goes through a series of development stages, which should be taken into consideration:

  • Stage 0: melanoma is only present on the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin.
  • Stages 1 & 2: melanoma has entered other layers of skin, but has not spread yet.
  • Stage 3: melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: melanoma has spread to other parts of the body or internal organs.

The ideal situation would be to detect and act upon the melanoma at Stage 0, however, in most cases, we will only start to pay attention to it in stages 1 or 2 when it starts changing shape and volume. It is important to see a professional at these stages, to avoid further development in that area and elsewhere in the body.

How To Recognize Foot Melanoma

Like we mentioned earlier, melanoma sneaks up on us if we are not paying attention. Besides the preventive measures mentioned on our previous post, you should be on the lookout for changes in the moles and skin of your feet. There are a couple of acronyms that you can use to check the spots on your skin for the possibility of melanoma:

The ABCs ofMelanoma:

  • A for Asymmetry: the lesion has an irregular shape
  • B for Border: the border of the lesion is indistinct or ragged
  • C for Color: check the color of the area, and if it has more than one color
  • D for Diameter: any spot with more than 6mm should be checked out
  • E for Evolution: if any of the above changes with time

An Acronym to Diagnose Foot Melanomas:CUBED

  • C for Colored: if the color of the spot is unusual
  • U for Uncertain: if you don’t recall when, where and why it appeared
  • B for Bleeding: any blood or fluids coming out of it
  • E for Enlargement: a lesion that grows, even after treatment
  • D for Delay: if a lesion takes more than 2 months to heal
Foot Melanoma: What Everyone Should Know, Part Two | Vet Organics

So, You Suspect Foot Melanoma. What Next?

If you notice anything resembling the symptoms described before, visit your dermatologist to get a diagnosis. After checking the size and shape of the mole or skin mark, as well as any additional symptoms that may occur, the dermatologist might choose to perform a biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a sample of the skin/mole to be examined on a microscope.

Depending on the type of area of concern, you’ll get a biopsy

  • Skin biopsy (for more superficial marks)
  • Shave biopsy (taken from the top two layers of skin)
  • Punch biopsy (removing a sample of all layers of skin, down to the subcutaneous layers)
  • Incisional/excisional biopsy (partial or total removal of a mole)

After analyzing the tissue sample, your doctor will be able to tell if there is malignant cell growth, as well as how fast it is developing and if it is spreading to other areas of the body. Depending on the results, your specialist will help you with the next steps of prevention or treatment.

 

Foot Melanoma: What Everyone Should Know, Part Two | Vet OrganicsDon’t forget, taking good care of your feet is one of those critical steps to prevent melanoma.
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