Melanoma is unfortunately a possibly fatal form of skin cancer when isn’t detected in the early stages. It can be difficult to detect since it takes on the appearance of other skin abnormalities like moles, plantar warts, ulcers, and blisters. Melanoma can also grow underneath your toenails or on your heel, where it can spread undetected. And since this type of cancer grows inward, it can quickly reach your circulatory system and move to other parts of your body.

Some risk factors for developing skin cancer on your feet include the following:

1)    Decreased immune system response—A variety of conditions can cause your immune system to work inefficiently, which can allow cancerous cells to grow without being removed from the body. Having viral infections like HIV, for example, can compromise the immune system. Circulatory ailments like PAD (peripheral arterial disease) decrease blood flow and inhibit your immune response. People who have had organ transplants and take immune-suppressing drugs can also be at risk, especially for developing acral lentiginous melanoma which grows in hidden areas like under the toenails.

2)    Chemical irritants—The environment is full of toxic chemicals from auto and power plant emissions. These and other chemical irritants like those found in household products can damage your DNA and allow cancerous tumors to develop.

Be sure to have any skin lesions on your feet or ankles checked by your foot doctor to rule out cancer. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX (county of Dallas) is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.

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