Skin Cancer of the Foot and Ankle

Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:

  • Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within the foot.
  • Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
  • Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth, are generally inherited.
  • Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
  • Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
  • Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.

“Skin cancer” is a general term for three distinct cancers that can appear on the foot: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.  

Basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, appears on sun-exposed areas as a smooth, raised bump or a sore that is not healing. It rarely metastasizes or causes death because it grows slowly and rarely spreads. It is easily treated with surgery or radiation.

Squamous cell carcinoma appears on sun-exposed areas as thick, red, scaly patches or as a bleeding ulcer. It is more serious than basal cell carcinoma because in some instances it may spread to other areas of the body.

Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, begins in the cells of the skin that produce pigmentation (coloration) and spreads to other areas of the body as it grows beneath the surface of the skin. 

Treatment of skin cancer, which varies depending on its type and location and the age of the patient, may include chemotherapy, radiation and surgical excision.  Referral to an oncologist  may be necessary


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