Largo Foot and Ankle Health Center
1450 Mercantile Lane
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Cancers Of the Legs and Feet
The sun has always been viewed as the primary cause of skin cancer, due to the fact that it is often found on the parts of the body that receive the most sun exposure. This is mostly true of some bodily skin cancers, but this does not hold true for those that arise on the skin of the feet.
Skin cancers of the feet are more related to exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammation or irritation, inherited traits and viruses. Regular foot check-ups for abnormalities is very important, but unfortunately the skin of the feet is often overlooked during routine medical examinations.
Types Of Skin Cancers Of the Legs and Feet
Basal cell carcinoma frequently appears on sun-exposed skin surfaces. This is less with the feet. This is one of the less aggressive cancers in the body. It can cause local damage but rarely spreads beyond the skin. On the legs and feet, basal cell cancers often resemble non-cancerous skin tumors or benign ulcers.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer of the skin of the feet. This form is mostly confined to the skin during the early stages but can spread during the advanced stages. It usually begins as a small scaly bump or plaque, which might possibly appear inflamed.
Sometimes there will be a history of recurrent cracking or bleeding. Squamous cell cancer can possibly resemble a plantar wart, a fungal infection, eczema, an ulcer, or any other common dermatological condition of the foot.
Malignant melanoma is one of the deadliest types of skin cancers known. This type of skin cancer must be discovered very early to ensure patient survival.
Melanomas may occur on the skin of the foot or sometimes underneath the toenail. They are found on the soles and on the tops of the feet. As a melanoma grows it will tend to extend deeper into the skin. This becomes very serious because it may spread through the body through the lymphatic and blood vessels.
Malignant melanoma commonly begins as a small brown-black spot or bump, but in about a third of the cases, this skin cancer will lack brown pigment and thus appear pink or red. These tumors may look like common moles; however, close inspection will usually demonstrate asymmetry, irregular borders, alterations in color, and/or a diameter of more than six mm. Melanomas may resemble benign moles, blood blisters, ingrown nails, plantar warts, ulcers caused by poor circulation, foreign bodies or bruises.