Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer whose main cause is exposure to the sun and to indoor tanning beds. Genetic factors may be at work as well, say researchers at Yale University. Whether you inherited a tendency toward melanoma or aggravated your skin through overexposure to ultraviolet light, know this: melanoma can be deadly.
Melanoma is one of the three main forms of skin cancer that appears on our feet. Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, our board-certified podiatrists here at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, urge everyone to check their feet – indeed, all of their skin – for signs of melanoma. All you need to learn are your ABCDEs.
- A Look out for moles or other spots (lesions) that aren’t symmetrical. That is, if you folded the spot in half, the two halves wouldn’t match up evenly.
- Border irregularities. The outside edges look blurry, uneven, ragged, or scallop-shaped.
- Color looks uneven. It’s not uniformly black, brown, or some other color; rather, it has gradations of two or more colors.
- D Lesions become most suspicious when they’re larger than 5 millimeters, which is about the width of a pencil eraser.
- E Moles that stay the same are of little concern. Moles that grow over time, change color, become raised, begin to bleed – these are warning signs to bring to the attention of a physician.
But what are the risks?
More than 2 million people are diagnosed with some kind of skin cancer every year in the U.S. Melanoma is the deadliest form, affecting more than 90,000 of us each year and killing almost 10,000. But here’s the good news: when it’s caught early, there are options to treat the melanoma such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Choosing to make regular skin checks a habit can literally be life-saving. Use the ABCDE method to check your skin regularly. Call us at (440) 903-1041 with questions or concerns about skin cancer anywhere on your lower limbs. You can also visit us online to make an appointment for a complete foot exam in our office in Solon, Ohio.