With all of our wonderful Florida sun it probably won’t surprise you to learn that our state has the second highest number of cases of melanoma in the country, according to statistics published by the Aim at Melanoma Foundation. At Gentle Professional Foot Care this is of particular concern because melanomas found on feet are often not discovered until a late stage when a cure is very difficult. The reason for this is that people tend not to treat their feet the same way they do the rest of the body when it comes to sun protection. In honor of Melanoma Awareness Month, let’s look at some common questions and answers about this deadly disease and how to lessen your risk.
Q: Who is at risk for melanoma?
A: All sexes, ages groups and skin colors are at risk for melanoma, however, there are certain factors that make someone more susceptible. These include: fair skin, numerous freckles or moles, burns easily or had a bad sunburn during childhood, family or personal history of skin cancer and spending long periods of time in sunny or high-altitude climates.
Q: What can I do to help prevent melanoma on my feet?
A: The most important thing is to keep your feet covered or to use a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 that protects against UVA and UVB rays and is water resistant. This needs to be applied to the tops (and bottoms if you’re at the beach or pool) of your feet. Reapply every few hours and after swimming. In Florida, it’s a good idea to use it daily even when you are just going out around town if you are wearing flip flops or open sandals.
Q: How do I know if I have a melanoma?
A: Only a doctor can diagnose you for certain but you can look for moles or freckles that are larger than a pencil eraser and asymmetrical, have an irregular border and are more than one color. Any mole or freckle that appears to be getting larger or thicker is also a cause for a call to our Venice office for our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, to check your foot.
If you have more questions about this potentially deadly disease or have noticed anything unusual about the skin on your feet or ankles, please contact us by calling: 941-493-7999.