What are the signs of skin cancer on feet? As we head into summer and the sunshine, it’s worth being aware and knowing the signs to look out for.
Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, even the feet. It’s a common belief that excessive sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer. Skin cancer on the feet is caused by any number of factors as well as unprotected, prolonged Ultraviolet radiation exposure from sunlight and sunbeds.
Skin cancer on feet can be dangerous as your feet are often overlooked. There are some abnormalities that you can look out for. Most are painless but can prove to be deadly.
Possible abnormalities may include:
- Brown/Black vertical line under the toenail.
- Pink or red spot/growth.
- New growth where a foot injury occurred.
- Rapid growing mass on the foot.
- Sores that do not heal.
- Often related to viruses, exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation.
- Inherited traits.
When skin cancer develops on the foot you may also see the ABCDEs of melanoma as well as the features mentioned above.
ABCDEs of Melanoma
- A = Asymmetry – The shape may not be symmetrical
- B = Border – Is this uneven?
- C = Colour – Is there more than two colours?
- D = Diameter – Is the area more than 5mm?
- E = Elevation – Is it a raised lump?
What are the types of skin cancer on feet?
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): Frequently seen on sun-exposed skin and typically results from excessive Ultraviolet radiation exposure from sunlight or sunbed use. It does not usually spread beyond the skin and it is one of the least aggressive cancers. This may appear as a pearly/white bump/patches that may ooze or crust and have an appearance of an open sore.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): The most common form of cancer of the feet. This is usually confined to the skin and does not spread. However, when advanced it can become more aggressive and spread throughout the body. This form of cancer often begins as a small, scale-like bump that may crack or bleed. Sometimes it may be inflamed. It can be painless, but sometimes itchy and can have a hard projecting callus-like lesion.
Malignant Melanoma: One of the deadliest forms of skin cancers and the key to survival is early detection. This can appear on any areas of the foot, including under toenails. They are commonly found on both the soles and the top of the feet. As this cancer grows it extends deeper into the skin.
This kind of cancer is nicknamed, “The Great Masquerader” as it has many appearances. Melanoma commonly begins as a small brown-black spot or bump. It will appear to have an asymmetry, irregular borders, alterations in colour and a diameter greater than 6mm.
When to visit We Fix Feet
Our clinicians at We Fix Feet are MASCED (Melanoma And Skin Cancer Early Detection) trained.
Skin cancers affecting the feet may have a very different appearance from those on the rest of the body.
Early detection is the key. If you have followed the ABCDEs as described above, then please mention your concern to our clinicians during your Foot Healthcare appointment at We Fix Feet or visit your GP as soon as possible.
It’s always better to get an unusual lesion or blemish referred to Dermatology for diagnosis to rule out skin cancer.
How can I help prevent skin cancer?
Prevention is similar to any other body part. Limit sun exposure and avoid sunbeds. Ensure you apply appropriate sunscreen when you are outdoors and when your feet and ankles are exposed, even during the winter months. The weather may not be hot, but the ultraviolet rays from the sun are still present.
In order to best protect yourself and your skin, you should regularly check your feet for possible signs of skin abnormalities.
For further information, tips and awareness, please visit and support the Skin Cancer Charity: SKcin.