April 04, 2019

Cancer is a big scary word, and for a good reason. Luckily, there are prevention measures we can take against most cancers. Learn about one of the most overlooked types of cancer, some of the common risk factors, and what you can do to prevent this invisible and often forgotten risk.

There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma.Melanoma is considered one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. It can often be overlooked as a mole or harmless discoloration.

Melanoma Of The Foot: What It Is And How To Prevent It | Palm Beach Naturals

What Is Foot Melanoma?

Foot melanoma is aform of skin cancer, which develops in the melanocytes. Those are the cells responsible for the production of melanin, the pigment that defines your skin tone. Melanoma usually appears as asymmetrical spots on the skin of the foot. Those spots might have different colors (i.e., brown, black, red and even blue) and sometimes a combination of some of them. Melanomas also can appear under the nails, as bruises (e.g., usually purple, brown or black) or streaks underneath the nail that do not change place as the nails grow.

Common Risk Factors Of Foot Melanoma

Melanoma becomes a more significant danger when our feet have a longer (or stronger) exposure to external risk factors. The first thing that comes into mind is the summertime, of course. Sunny days come with high UV levels, many of us are wearing flip-flops and other types of open shoes. But there are also other sources of potentially harmful exposure, like the overuse of tanning beds, whose artificial UV light may be the cause for the appearance of melanoma later on.

There are also a few internal risk factors, as some groups are more prone to developing this type of cancer.

  • fair skin, or skin that develops freckles
  • people who had at least one severe sunburn before 18
  • having a considerable number of moles
  • those with a family history of melanomas or other types of skin cancer.

Although these are examples of at-risk populations, melanomas can affectpeople of all age groups. The risk becomes greater for those exposed to intense UV radiation, or radiation with a lower intensity but with a longer period of exposure.

Melanoma Of The Foot: What It Is And How To Prevent It | Palm Beach Naturals

How To Detect Melanoma On Your Feet

At first, melanomas can be easily mistaken for a mole or even a bruise, but there are some characteristics that might help you distinguish a possible melanoma from a harmless mole:

  • Melanomas are typically unevenly shaped.
  • The borders are irregular. They may appear notched or blurred.
  • Melanomas grow in size, with time. Look out for any spot with 5 millimeters or more.

How to Prevent Foot Melanoma

Protection is the key when it comes to preventing melanomas and other skin damage. It’s never too much to remember that you can keep yourself safe with a few simple measures:

  • Early detection is one of the best prevention methods. Be thorough. Check the entire bottom of the foot, including the creases of your toe pads.
  • Along with the bruises and streaks we mentioned earlier, there are some other symptoms of a possible melanoma growing under the nails, such as brittleness and nails that crack easily.
  • Always wear sunscreen with an adequate protection spectrum (SPF) when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods. Not everyone realizes that their feet are getting sunlight while they walk. Every time you lift your foot to take the next step, especially while wearing flip flops, you are exposing your foot to radiation. Sitting and lying down are also common times our feet see sunlight.
  • Reapply sunscreen every few hours if you are going to stay in the sun for long hours. A few breaks in the shade are also recommended.
  • If you are going to the beach or practicing water sports, try to avoid open shoes like flip-flops. You might replace them with shoes that offer more coverage, or consider water shoes.
  • Avoid long periods of direct exposure to sunlight during peak radiation hours, which is 10am to 4pm.
  • Keep your feet clean and healthy. Bacteria and fungus build up can weaken our skin and the overall health of our foot. By using an odor neutralizer that kills odor-causing bacteria, we keep our feet and our skin strong. Plus, regularly cleaning and moisturizing our feet gives us a better chance of tracking which discolorations are normal, and which may be cause for concern. Try  FOOT SENSE all-natural foot and shoe powder.

Those are the basics of foot melanoma. Check back for Part Two where we’ll discuss some of the essential factors everyone should know about melanoma and what we can all do to ensure we take it seriously.