Lumps, Bumps & Moles

Published Tuesday January 12, 2016

Most people don’t pay attention to their feet or legs until they start feeling pain, but many skin cancers of the feet and/or legs are painless. Because of this, skin cancers on the feet and/or legs can often go undetected.  Therefore, it is very important to keep an eye on your feet and/or legs and inspect them on a regular basis.

It is a common misunderstanding that only sun-exposed skin is more likely to get skin cancer.  There are skin cancers of the feet and/or legs that are related to exposure to chemicals, chronic inflammatory conditions, viruses or inherited traits. Many benign appearing conditions such as long-standing ulcerations or warts can be cancerous.

Skin cancers can also appear in the nail. Especially, women need to pay more attention as these growths can often go undiagnosed because of using nail polish.

If your skin condition meets any of the following criteria, you should see a podiatric physician immediately:

Asymmetry:  Does one half of the mole not match the other half?

Border irregularity: Are the edges of the mole irregular, ragged, blurred or notched?

Color: Is the color inconsistent throughout the mole?

Diameter: Is the mole larger than the size of a pencil eraser (a quarter inch)?

Evolution: Is there a change in the size, shape or new symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), bleeding surface, uneven texture, or a change in the color of the mole?

The good news about skin cancers is that they can be treated successfully if detected early.

So do yourself and your feet and/or legs a favor by routinely inspecting them. If there is any question that crosses your mind regarding a lump, bump, mole, or an irregularity in your toenail, then it is important to get it checked out by your podiatric physician.

– Hetal Kathrotiya-Mago, DPM

Dr. Hetal Kathrotiya-Mago practices in the Silver Spring office (301-598-0130).

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