Your Feet Can Get Skin Cancer Too


While we often think of skin cancer as something that is caused by excessive sun exposure, and since our feet don’t tend to get much sun, we often overlook the prospect of contracting skin cancer on our feet. So while many skin cancers are caused by accumulated ultraviolet light damage, other factors can also be involved, including genetic predisposition, harmful environmental exposures, and immune system deficiencies. 

Skin burns from chemicals can alter the DNA in skin cells, causing a malignant tumor to develop. Human papillomavirus, and HIV infection can limit your bodies ability to repair and remove damaged skin cells. Melanoma is a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer that can affect the feet. A type called acral lentiginous melanoma is not caused by sun exposure at all,  and is sometimes found on the soles of the feet, and underneath the toenails.

Some of the Signs of Melanoma

Melanoma is particularly dangerous because it grows into the lower layers of skin rather than spreading across the surface, so it can be difficult to detect. If it reaches the blood vessels and lymphatic system, the cancerous cells can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Melanomas can take on many different appearances, and can often look like other foot abnormalities including moles, plantar warts, ingrown toenails, and foot ulcers or blood blisters.

Because of this, it is very important to have any skin or nail irregularities checked out by your foot care specialist since early detection is crucial, and may even save your life!

If you are concerned about an unusual growth on your foot, we highly recommend that you consult our board certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!