Skin cancer is one of the most dangerous risks from being sunburned and is also the most common of all cancers especially in young adults. According to the American Cancer Society, about 87,110 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States for 2017. The popular shoewear during the summer are flip-flops and one of the most frequent areas to miss when out in the sun applying sunscreen are to the feet. Because of this, there is always a risk for the feet to get sunburnt when outdoors under the hot summer sun and this can increase your risk of developing melanoma later in life.
Melanoma can be very treatable when detected early enough; however, when on the feet it is often overlooked and that is when it can be fatal. Be sure to do self-exams of your feet for any changes in a mole or spot as well as under the toenails. It is important to see your doctor or podiatrist if you notice a darker pigmentation (brown or black) under the nail that grows out with the nail and extends to the nail bed and beyond the nail fold onto the surrounding skin.
It is essential to check on your feet for signs of any skin cancer lesion. The following signs to know that can save your life are the ABCDEs of melanoma:
- Asymmetrical shape
- Border – irregular and difficult to define borders
- Change in color – uneven blend of more than one color (blue, black, brown, etc.)
- Diameter that increases in size – the lesion grows to more than 6mm in diameter (size of a pencil eraser) is indicative of melanoma
- Elevation (spot is elevated off the skin) & Evolution (change in shape, border, color, and size)
It is also important to call your podiatrist or doctor to treat any blisters, pain, or infection as a result from sunburned feet. Prevent future sunburns by always putting on sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or higher protecting again harmful ultraviolet rays from the sunlight (UVA and UVB) and remember to reapply after getting your feet wet. If you are without sunscreen to the feet, try to stay in the shade or avoid flip-flop use and cover your feet with socks and shoes.
Practicing these preventive measures will protect against melanoma and lower the risk to skin cancer by limiting the sun’s UV exposure. If sunburn does occur on the feet, you may rinse or soak them under cold water and apply soothing Aloe Vera cream or gel. Also visiting the podiatrist regularly is key for early detection for melanoma and for a full recovery. Remember to stay hydrated in the hot summer, ice the feet and elevate them if swelling occurs after the sunburn. Have some fun in the sun but don’t forget about your feet, always protect them by simply applying sunscreen to the feet!
Please visit our website for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with us at our Columbus or Gahanna office