Is that Freckle or Mole Normal?
We all fear the thought of malignant melanoma yet we all have moles or freckles and sometimes they are hard to know if they are normal or not. Even worse, we have a tendency to think that because our feet and nails aren’t usually exposed to the sun, the chances of a malignant melanoma on those areas is rare. And if we are honest with ourselves, how many of us really examine the bottom of the feet and between our toes and our nails (which may be covered up with polish) for any type of pigmented skin changes?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but malignant melanoma on the feet and nails does occur and because it goes unnoticed for a prolonged time, can sometimes be much more invasive by the time it is diagnosed. So when should you be concerned?
There are some things you can look for to raise your suspicion of a possible malignant melanoma. These apply to malignant melanomas everywhere but again, with feet, sometimes they are not examined closely enough over time to know if the lesion is the same as before or if something is changing.
A — asymmetry —melanoma is often not symmetrical, meaning if you divided it in half, any which direction, it would not be the same as the other side.
B — border —there is not a clear edge or outline to the lesion and it appears to blur into the surrounding skin
C — color —unlike a benign lesion that is usually a single shade of brown or tan, malignant melanoma usually presents with more than one color ranging from brown, to black or blue and even some areas where the pigment is missing within the lesion.
D — diameter —the size of a pigmented lesion that is 6 mm or greater is cause for concern, especially if this size is more newly expanding. 6 mm is approximately the size of the eraser on a pencil.
E — evolution —when a mole you have had starts to evolve or change in any way whether it is in size, shape, color, areas of elevation or if it begins to bleed, itch or crust over, it is urgent that you contact your physician and have the lesion properly evaluated.
Malignant melanoma does occur on the feet and in the nails. Any concerns you may have, please contact us and come in for evaluation. Don’t wait until it is too late.