The next time you scrub your feet or clip your toenails, be mindful and take a closer look at each foot from heel to toe back to ankle. Regular self-examination combined with visits to your podiatrist can help save your life should there be early detection of foot melanoma.

Routine self-examinations of the feet are an important way to find skin cancer early, when it’s easiest to treat and cure. Sadly, half of the people diagnosed with melanoma of the foot die within five years after the cancer had already spread throughout their body. If melanoma is detected in its earliest stages, 92 percent of patients are alive after five years.

What You Should Know About Foot Melanoma

  • Routine foot self-exams increase the likelihood of noticing suspicious moles, freckles or other spots.
  • Melanoma is a risk for people of all ages, including younger people.
  • Caucasians are ten times more likely to develop melanoma than African-Americans.
  • Despite this, studies suggest more than half of melanoma cases in African-Americans involve the foot, where late diagnosis leads to a higher death rate.
  • Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body even areas less exposed to the sun. This includes feet and ankles.

What to Look for

  • Focus on the three most common areas for foot melanoma: the soles, between the toes, and around or under the toenails.

Moles and freckles should be monitored in case they begin to appear:

  • Larger, increase in diameter
  • More asymmetrical over time
  • A different color
  • Or as a raised surface.

If any of the above happens within the span of a month, we advise you contact your podiatrist for an exam.

To learn more about malignant melanoma of the foot, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

For a thorough foot exam, please contact us on either the East Side or West Side of Cleveland Offices.