In a previous blog we talked about risks and prevention of melanoma of the foot. Since melanoma of the foot may frequently go undetected, knowing what to look for when performing a self examination is vital.
Detection: Check out those feet! Take an extra 60 seconds and inspect your body and your feet. Remember, melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, even areas not often exposed to the sun. Make sure to look in between toes, the soles of your feet and around and underneath the nails.
Melanoma frequently appears as a dark and discolored area: usually black, blue or brown. However, red, pink, or any pigmented skin lesion with recent changes in appearance should be suspect. A mole or freckle that has recently changed should also be examined. The guidelines below can be used in the foot or elsewhere on the body.
Follow the ABCDE’s of melanoma, a simple guideline for self examination :
A- Asymmetry – irregular shape or unevenness of the each side of the lesion suggest asymmetry
B- Border-Irregular borders, blurred, notched or jagged, difficult to define
C- Color-multi-colored lesions or change in colors (or uneven distribution of color)
D- Diameter – change in size or greater that 6mm in diameter
E- Evolution – know the evolution of your moles, note any changes in size or shape
New symptoms such as elevation, itchiness, and bleeding should all be evaluated. Plus, make sure you remove nail polish in between pedicures and take a look at the toenails. Look for dark streaking or hyperpigmentation. The late reggae musician, Bob Marley, died of complications from melanoma that originated under his toenail and metastasized to other parts of his body. Although rare, it does occur!
If you suspect any of the above changes, it is important you seek medical attention. There are several types of melanoma that may present in the foot. Aside from prevention, in all cases, early detection and screening are critical for successful treatment and improved prognosis. Remember to protect, inspect and don’t forget those feet!
The content provided on this blog by Dr. Pruthi is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional health-care provider.