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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.