Foot Cancer – Know the facts
Foot cancer is not something we tend to hear a lot about, as it is a rare form of cancer. However, it is something that you need to be aware of, as it is extremely serious. In fact, one study concluded that the overall five-year survival rate for patients with melanoma of the ankle and foot was 52 per cent, which is 32 per cent lower than the survival rate for patients that have this form of cancer somewhere else on the lower part of their body. Most cancers of the ankle and foot are often diagnosed too late or missed altogether, as feet are one of the parts of the body that is least cared for. Moreover, it can be very tough to identify cancer that arises within the sole surface or under the nail.
Causes of foot cancer
The causes of foot cancer vary; however, a lot of people experience this type of cancer because they have had too much exposure to the sun. This is why it is imperative to make sure you apply sunscreen whenever your ankles and feet are exposed outdoors. Other causes and risk factors include a personal or family history of melanoma, light hair, freckles, fair skin, and moles.
Things to look out for
As mentioned earlier, a lot of foot cancer goes unnoticed, which is why it is important to be aware of the key signs to look out for. You need to see a podiatrist immediately if you notice any of the signs or symptoms mentioned below:
- A change in the surface of a mole, including bleeding, oozing, or the occurrence of a nodule or bump.
- Pain, tenderness, or itchiness
- Scaly areas of the foot
- Bumps that bleed or crack
- Swelling or redness beyond a lesion’s border
- A sore that will not heel
- A new or unusual mole that has one of the following characteristics:
o The lesion changes in colour, shape, or size
o The diameter is more than six mm
o The lesion is more than one colour
o The border of the lesion is indistinct, ragged, or irregular
o One side of the lesion is different from the other side
Diagnosis and treatment
If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it is important to book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. They will conduct a skin biopsy and a clinical examination in most cases in order to determine whether you have cancer of the foot. A skin biopsy is really straightforward; a small sample of skin will be taken from the lesion in your foot. It will then be sent to a skin pathologist, who will take a look at the tissue in further depth in order to determine what is wrong. If you do have cancer, you will be advised on the best treatment. Although treatment does differ from person to person, surgery tends to be the solution in most cases, as this should ensure that the disease is controlled while also guaranteeing long-term health.