Summer is coming fast bringing with it warmer temperatures, popsicles, and more time in the sun. Most of us remember to lather up with sunscreen before we spend go outside. However, many people forget their feet when applying sunscreen. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the skin on your feet is highly susceptible to various types of skin cancer. We wanted to pass along some important information to help you protect your feet while you are enjoying the sunshine.

There are 3 distinct cancers that can appear on the foot: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, appears on sun-exposed areas as a smooth, raised bump or a sore that is not healing. It rarely metastasizes or causes death because it grows slowly and rarely spreads. It is easily treated with surgery or radiation.

Squamous cell carcinoma appears on sun-exposed areas as thick, red, scaly patches or as a bleeding ulcer. It is more serious than basal cell carcinoma because in some instances, it may spread to other areas of the body.

Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, begins in the cells of the skin that produce pigmentation (coloration) and spreads to other areas of the body as it grows beneath the surface of the skin. 

There are things you can do to help protect your skin and feet from the sun! 

  1. Always use sunscreen before going out in the sun. Remember to sunscreen the tops AND bottoms of your feet for maximum protection.
  2. Check your feet. Regularly check for abnormal looking spots, moles, and freckles. Remember to check under toenails, in between toes, and on the soles of your feet too! If you notice any spots that have changed in size or shape, contact Idaho Foot and Ankle Center to have it evaluated.
  3. Wear water shoes/socks and shoes to limit sun exposure to your feet. If wearing flip flops or sandals, remember to re-apply sunscreen often.
  4. Remove nail polish occasionally. This helps you be able to inspect the skin underneath the toenails.

Early detection is key! If you have a spot you are concerned about or any other foot or ankle issue, please contact Idaho Foot and Ankle Center for an appointment. We are here to make sure all of your foot and ankle needs are taken care of in a safe and efficient manner. We also have same day appointments available! Dr. Kylin Kovac and Dr. Jed Erickson want to help your feet be happy and stay healthy all summer long.

Some content provided by The ACFAS.