Warm weather finally seems to be here to stay, and summer is around the corner. With summer, of course, comes vacations and spending time soaking up the sun. As good as it feels to be out in the sunlight, though, you do have to be careful and protect your skin. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is a reminder for everyone to take steps to prevent skin cancer. Believe it or not, the place you need to be most wary of is your feet.

Skin cancer can be lethal. It appears anywhere on your body, including your lower limbs, where it can easily be missed and go untreated. While your feet are normally covered and protected by your footwear, wearing sandals during the summer exposes your toes to radiation that could damage them. However, sun isn’t the only culprit that causes cancerous changes in the lower limbs—viruses, chemicals, and genetics can play a role as well.

To prevent skin cancer, you need to protect your body from the sun and inspect your feet for changes regularly. Check the soles as well as the tops and between toes. Look for new or changed spots or sores. Growths may be pearly, tan, brown, black, multi-colored, or even translucent. They sometimes appear as sores that itch, hurt, erode away, scab, or bleed. Especially take note if they don’t heal within a few weeks.

Take extra care to examine moles, freckles, and birthmarks. Watch for changes in color, size, thickness, and texture. Cancerous growths typically have irregular borders, too, so look carefully at spots with unusual shapes. Asymmetrical lesions—spots that appear to have different sides—and growths larger than 6 millimeters wide, need to be checked for melanoma.

Don’t take your skin for granted. It doesn’t take much to prevent skin cancer from going unnoticed or spreading. If you do find anything unusual, don’t ignore it. Contact Martin Foot and Ankle here in Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz, and York, PA for an appointment today. Call (717) 757-3537 or submit our online contact form to reach us.

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