We don’t often associate cancer with our feet, and this isn’t the most common area where it can develop. This doesn’t mean we should be complacent though, as it is possible for cancer to manifest in our feet or toes.
It’s wise not to ignore any changes in our feet, even minor ones, and a podiatrist is the ideal person to advise you. In the meantime, here are the main things to consider.
Be Careful in the Sun
Most of us know that too much exposure to sunlight is dangerous without adequate sunscreen protection. It can lead to skin cancer, so we conscientiously apply plenty of sunscreen and that usually goes on the obvious bits – neck, shoulders, arms, torso and legs.
However, when was the last time you applied sunscreen to your feet? If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops they’re exposed as much as the rest of you, so they need just as much protection.
In the UK the sun is rather elusive, so when it does pop out we get over-excited and grab the nearest bottle, which has probably been lurking in the cupboard since our last overseas holiday. It has a shelf life of two to three years and, after that, it ceases to be effective.
Always Apply Sunscreen
A sunscreen of SPF (sun protection factor) 20 or above is best. The SPF scale ranges from 2 to 50, and determines how much protection your skin will get from harmful ultraviolet B radiation. If your product is also marked with a UVA symbol that means it meets EU standards for ultraviolet A radiation. This is different from B type, but just as harmful.
What If There Isn’t Any Sun?
It’s easy to assume that skin cancer isn’t something to worry about on grey and cloudy days – especially as we have a lot of those. However, the sun isn’t always the culprit. Contact with certain chemicals or over-exposure to radiation from other sources can also cause skin cancer to develop. Genetics can play a part as well, and moles can also be causes for concern.
Bone tumours can occur in the feet as a result of conditions such as cysts, ruptured tendons or fat tumours. These tumours may well be benign, as a malignant foot tumour is rare.
Also, there are several common and benign foot conditions where lumps develop – bunions, corns and warts for example. As always, don’t ignore something new. Speak to your podiatrist if you notice any changes in your feet or toes.
What to Look Out For
Check your feet regularly, and that means everywhere – upper foot (the bit you see when you look down), instep (the arched top part of the foot, from toes to ankle), toes and soles. If you spot any changes, check with your podiatrist. This includes:
- Irregular shaped moles
- Scaly, dry areas
- Bad smelling warts
- Discolouration – black, purple, red, white or brown spots
- Any bleeding, oozing or itching
- Stubborn sores or bruises that won’t heal
- New, quick-growing tissue
- Or anything new that’s lumpy, smelly, discoloured, scaly or sore.
Spot Something Different? There’s No Need to Worry
Check regularly and you’ll spot something new in the early stages, which is the best time to treat it. Don’t forget there are plenty of foot conditions that are easy to deal with but don’t leave anything to chance.
Feet By Pody: Here to Help
Our experienced podiatrists have been caring for the feet of London for many years.
For specific issues or general maintenance contact Feet By Pody or book online today.