By: Dr. Roman Burk, Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle
When melanoma or skin cancer occurs on the feet, it is known as foot cancer.
Symptoms of Foot Cancer
Common symptoms of foot cancer can include:
- Suspicious lesions on foot
- Moles that are uneven or change colors
- Cracking skin on the foot
- Bleeding on the foot
- Abnormal masses or spots on the foot
- Sores on the foot that don’t heal
The most common cause of skin cancer on the foot is sun exposure however foot cancer may also be hereditary or caused by other factors as well.
Often; foot cancer is discovered during a physical examination for an unrelated condition. That’s how we found foot cancer on a patient at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle.
Foot Cancer Diagnosis
A patient contacted us to get an examination for ankle pain. During the patient’s physical examination, I discovered a suspicious lesion on the inside of her foot. It was about the size of a dime with irregular borders and diffused dark patterns.
I discussed my suspicion of the lesion to be cancerous with the patient and she agreed to a biopsy. Two days later, the pathology report confirmed my suspicion of melanoma and determined the melanoma to be invasive. As such; the patient was scheduled for surgery to remove the cancer.
During surgery, the melanoma and surrounding margins were removed. The tissue was sent to pathology to confirm that the depth and all margins were clear of melanoma. The patient has now fully recovered and is cancer free. The patient is advised to continue to check their feet regularly for suspicious lesions and to see me every 6 months.
How to prevent skin cancer on the feet:
- Protect your feet from sun exposure. Applying sunscreen on your feet is just as important as anywhere else on your body to avoid skin cancers.
- Check for unusual lesions: It’s important to check your feet regularly for any suspicious lesions, masses or other changes to your skin. Any lesion or mole that changes in color, size or appearance should be checked by a physician immediately (even if changing slowly). If you have a prior history of skin cancer (anywhere), you should also have your feet checked for additional lesions.
- Learn the ABCD’s of Melanoma. If you notice a mole, bump, or patch on the skin that meets any of the following criteria, see a podiatrist immediately:
- Asymmetry – If the lesion is divided in half, the sides don’t match.
- Borders – Borders look scalloped, uneven, or ragged.
- Color – There may be more than one color. These colors may have an uneven distribution.
- Diameter – The lesion is wider than a pencil eraser (greater than 6 mm).
Other types of skin cancer can involve spontaneous ulcers, non-healing sores, bumps that crack or bleed, nodules with rolled or “donut-shaped” edges, or areas of scaling skin.
If you have concerns about foot cancer, moles or have constant pain in the foot or ankle; make an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist as soon as possible. The health of your foot can impact your entire body and the sooner cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat.
About Dr. Burk:
Dr. Roman Burk is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and podiatrist located in Boise, Idaho. He is the president of Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle. Dr. Burk grew up in Idaho is proud to make it his home.
Dr. Burk earned his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2004. Following completion of his 3-year surgical residency in South Bend Indiana- working with the team physicians for the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Burk returned home to Idaho to work in private practice. Read more