Melanomas 101

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and at Texas Foot Specialists we want our patients to realize the importance of preventing skin cancer in your feet. One person dies from melanoma—one of the deadliest kinds of skin cancer—every hour. Often times, melanomas found on the feet are not caught until they are in advanced stages due to the fact that patients don’t think to check their feet for changes that may indicate a problem. Our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller, strongly urge patients to conduct self-exams of their feet regularly. When looking at spots, moles or freckles on the skin, use the ABCDE’s of melanoma to evaluate what you see:

ASYMMETRICAL: A potential warning sign of a melanoma is a mole that is asymmetrical in its appearance. This means that if you were to draw a line down the middle of the mole the two sides will not be identical.

BORDER: Uneven, ragged borders on a spot and those that appear to have notches taken out of them or scalloped edges are cause for concern.

COLOR: Benign moles are generally all one color. A variety of shades of brown, black or tan are more likely to indicate a melanoma. Other changes to report to your doctor are when a mole becomes red, blue or white.

DIAMETER: Size is a factor in determining a possible melanoma. Cancerous moles are usually larger than ¼ inch or 6mm in diameter—that’s about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil. Be aware, however, that sometimes a melanoma may start out smaller than ¼ inch.

EVOLVING:When a mole changes, that’s a sign that it should definitely be evaluated by the doctor. Any difference that you notice in size, shape, color, or becoming more raised could point to a melanoma. New symptoms associated with a mole such as bleeding, itching or crusting over may also be an indicator of carcinoma.

If you detect changes in a mole or freckle on your foot, even if you are not sure if they mean anything or not, contact our Pasadena (281) 991-0600, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Houston (713) 664-6677 office for an appointment as soon as possible. We’d much rather have you come in and find out it’s nothing, than wait and later discover there’s a problem that could have been treated earlier.