Routine Foot Self Exams Can Detect Melanoma

Foot and Ankle Surgeons believe that routine self examinations of the feet are critical to finding skin cancer early, when it is easiest to treat. Close to half of the people who learn they have melanoma of the foot die within five years because cancer had already spread to other parts of the body at the time of diagnosis. It is estimated that nearly 60,000 people will learn they have melanoma this year. It is not known how of many of these cases involve the foot. More than 8,000 patients will die. However, if melanoma is detected during early stages, 92 percent of patients are alive after 5 years.

Melanoma can strike all age groups, even the young. Whites are ten times more likely to develop melanoma than are blacks , but studies suggest that more than half of the reported cases for blacks involve the foot. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons recommends routine self exams to focus on the most common areas of the foot for melanoma to appear: the soles, between the toes, and around or under toenails.

Melanoma can develop anywhere even in areas of little sun exposure. If a mole or freckle starts to exhibit changes over the course of a month and becomes asymmetrical or changes its border, color, diameter, or elevation, then consult a doctor immediately. It could save your life..


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