Melanoma is a word that elicits fear from many. It is actually one of the least common types of all the skin cancers (especially plantar melanoma), but it is the one of greatest concern because of the aggressive nature of the cells. Since this disease shows signs on the outside of our bodies, the good news is doctors are typically able to diagnose it quickly and early, which greatly increases the chance of a full recovery.
However, a November 2012 article in “Forbes” magazine reminds us that self-exams—including the feet—are critical in the war on melanoma. Debra Black, wife of billionaire Leon Black, had all the care that money could buy, but it was her own persistence that paid off. Black didn’t feel comfortable with her dermatologist’s diagnosis of a spot on the sole of her foot. After a friend referred her to a podiatrist, tests revealed that the spot was a stage II plantar melanoma. Black is now using her time and resources to further melanoma research. She helped to establish the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA).
So what are some of the things to look for? Always check your moles to be sure they aren’t changing shape, size, or color. Other indicators to watch out for are bleeding, itching, and scaliness. Some spots may be hidden from plain sight, especially on the feet where we aren’t always looking. Always examine in between your toes, on your heels and ankles, and by the nail beds. These are places where cancerous moles can hide without being detected. As always, remember to wear sunscreen when going outside under the hot Texas sun–yes, even on your feet! Always avoid going to tanning salons.
If you believe you may have found a spot on your skin that should be checked, do not hesitate for one more minute. Call Dr. Marco Vargas and Dr. Joyce Lee at Vargas Foot & Ankle Specialists at 888-784-5335 to schedule an appointment at either our Houston or Sugar Land offices. We are here to diagnose and treat all foot conditions. Let us help put you at ease!