Cancer: The Feet Are No Exception
We don’t often think about cancer occurring in the feet. Perhaps this is a symptom of a bigger problem—we often don’t give our foundation the attention it deserves. The truth is that this dreaded disease can appear anywhere in our bodies, and the feet are no exception. Cancer can affect two areas of our feet: skin and bones. This trick is finding out whether the symptoms you have are really foot cancer, or just one of the many common ailments that can cause problems in your feet.
Types of Skin Cancers
Basal cell carcinoma is the least dangerous of the skin cancers. Although it causes skin damage, it rarely spreads to any other tissue. It appears as white patches or crusty sores that don’t heal. Removing the cancerous cells is usually sufficient, and more extensive treatments are rarely needed. It can, however, keep popping up in new locations, so you need to be monitored regularly for new outbreaks.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common form of foot cancer. If caught early, it can be contained in the skin, but if not, it is able to spread beyond to other parts of your body. If you notice small scaly patches that look red, crack, and bleed, have them checked out at My Chicago Foot Expert right away. Dr. Stavros Alexopoulos is trained to recognize and test for cancer symptoms, and not confuse them with a more common ulcer, plantar wart, or fungal infection.
Sometimes called “The Great Masquerader,” malignant melanoma can also occur in your feet. Symptoms resemble moles, ingrown toenails, or bruises, and a trained eye is needed to identify this deadly type of skin cancer. Advanced malignant melanoma does not usually have a good prognosis, so you want to have any small dark spot on your feet checked promptly. Remember the ABCDs of skin cancer: Asymmetry (halves don’t match), Borders (irregular, ragged), Color (uneven, more than one), and Diameter (bigger than a pencil eraser).
Cancer in Foot Bones
Most bone tumors are benign, and the type that is likely to occur in your feet is called enchondroma. It is usually not painful and shows few symptoms– it may not even be diagnosed unless the area is x-rayed for other reasons. It should be investigated further, though, to make sure it is not a cancerous type of tumor.
If the bone tumors are cancerous, it is likely that they are not bone cancer, but rather another type of cancer that has metastasized to the bone. Breast, prostate, and lung cancer are the types that most frequently move into the bones. True bone cancer – primary bone sarcoma – usually occurs in the larger bones in the legs and body rather than the feet.
Multiple myeloma is bone marrow cancer, which affects the soft tissue inside of the bones. Although it doesn’t usually affect the foot bones themselves, the disease can cause peripheral neuropathy which causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the feet and legs.
When dealing with any foot problems, you want to have the best care possible. Dr. Stavros Alexopoulos is experienced in removing foot cancer on the skin. He can diagnose and treat all your foot conditions with the expertise that your feet deserve. Give My Chicago Foot Expert a call at (773) 561-8100, or ask for an appointment on our website.