Skin cancers like melanoma often affect areas of the body that are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, including the hands, face, and neck. But you should also check areas that don’t get a lot of sun for lesions, like your feet and ankles, since these growths can be caused by chemicals and viruses in addition to ultraviolet light.
Since cancerous lesions can look like other skin conditions including warts, eczema, and fungal or bacterial infections, it’s very important to have any abnormalities evaluated by your foot care professional to make sure they are not cancerous.
2 common skin cancers that can occur on your feet and ankles include:
- Malignant melanoma – This type of skin cancer can be one of the most deadly because it tends to grow inward where it can go undetected. Melanoma can occur under the toenails and on the ball and soles of the feet where it can be easy to miss. Cancerous melanoma tumors can look very similar to moles, blood blisters, and other skin conditions and if the cancer grows inward to your lymphatic and circulatory systems it can more easily spread to other locations.
- Basal cell carcinoma – This is actually one of the least aggressive kinds of skin cancer and unlike melanoma, it rarely spreads beyond the initial location. The skin lesions occur on the surface and can take on the appearance of open sores or shiny bumps. While this type of cancer is unlikely to spread, it can cause considerable localized disfigurement if it is not caught early.
Since cancers on the feet often look like other skin conditions, be sure to see your foot doctor for a proper evaluation.