Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the skin that produce pigmentation (coloration). It is also called malignant melanoma because it spreads to other areas of the body as it grows beneath the surface of the skin.

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body including areas that receive little sun exposure, such as the feet and ankles. Nearly 60,000 people will learn they have melanoma this year. It’s not known how many of those cases will involve the foot, but more than 8,100 melanoma patients will die, nearly one death every hour. If melanoma is detected in its earliest stages, 92 percent of patients are alive after five years.

Unlike many other types of cancer, melanoma strikes people of all age groups, even the young. Whites are 10 times more likely to develop melanoma than African-Americans, but studies suggest more than half of melanoma cases in African-Americans involve the foot, where late diagnosis leads to a higher death rate. Routine foot self exams increase the likelihood of noticing suspicious moles, freckles or other spots.

Routine self examinations of the feet are an important way to find skin cancer early, when it’s easiest to cure. Half of the people who learn they have melanoma of the foot die within five years because the cancer had already spread throughout their body by the time it was diagnosed.

Experts recommend focusing on the three most common areas for foot melanoma: under the toenails, the soles, and around or between the toes. If a mole, freckle or spot starts to change over the course of a month and becomes asymmetrical or changes its border, color, diameter or elevation, see a doctor immediately.

At Florida Foot Specialist we can help monitor any lesions that you currently have or evaluate your foot and ankle for any lesions you haven’t noticed. If the lesion has any of the aspects described above we will biopsy the lesion in the office. We receive quick results and the biopsy procedure is quick with minimal discomfort.

With any type of cancer, and especially skin cancer, early diagnosis is the key to a full recovery. Call and make an appointment with us as soon as you can so that we can perform a full evaluation and help you with any problems you are having with your foot or ankle.