The next time you clip your toenails, take a closer look at the rest of your feet as an extra 60 seconds could save your life.
According to foot and ankle surgeons, routine self-examinations of the feet are an important way to find skin cancer early, when it’s easiest to cure.
Half of the people who learn they have melanoma of the foot die within five years because the cancer had already spread throughout their body by the time it was diagnosed.
Nearly 60,000 people will learn they have melanoma this year. It’s not known how many of those cases will involve the foot, but more than 8,100 melanoma patients will die nearly one death every hour.
However, if melanoma is detected in its earliest stages, 92 per cent of patients will remain alive after five years.
Unlike many other types of cancer, melanoma strikes people of all age groups, even the young. Whites are 10 times more likely to develop melanoma than blacks. Studies also suggest that more than half of melanoma cases in blacks involve the foot, where late diagnosis leads to a higher death rate.
Routine foot self-examinations increase the likelihood of noticing suspicious moles, freckles or spots.
“The first question I’m going to ask a patient is, ˜how long has it been there? says Neil Campbell, a spokesman for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
Foot and ankle surgeons recommend focusing on the three most common areas for foot melanoma: Soles, between the toes, and around or under the toenails.
Campbell further says that melanoma can develop anywhere on the body including areas that receive little sun exposure, such as the feet and ankles.
Source: The Times Of India