Brown spots on bottom of feet may indicate a type of skin cancer. Skin cancer refers to the growth of malignant tumors on your skin. Malignant tumors are those tumors that have the tendency to spread if untreated. They are of many types and the deadliest of them all is melanoma. It is rare (only 1% of skin cancer cases) but causes the highest mortality (death) of all skin cancer types. Melanomas, as the name suggests, often develop from the cells called melanocytes. These are the cells responsible for the production of melanin. And in case you’re wondering what melanin is; it is the “dark” pigment responsible for the color of your skin. Like other cancer types, melanomas can spread to the rest of the body from the melanocytes.
You should watch out for any unusual moles or black spots on your skin. They may indicate melanoma, especially since the skin area is regularly exposed to the sunlight. These include your arms, face, and chest. But then, your feet are hardly exposed to sunlight, right? So why should you worry about having melanoma on your feet? Well, a part of your feet may sometimes still be exposed to sunlight if you are wearing sandals. Remember that you cannot cover your entire feet all the time. In this article, you will learn the basics of malignant melanoma of the foot. We will tell you the signs, treatment plan, and prevention tips.
Are Brown Spots on Bottom of Feet Melanoma?
You may have a mole or brown spot on the bottom of your feet. But this does not always indicate melanoma. So don’t panic if you notice any brown spots.
The first thing that indicates melanoma is when the color, size, texture, or shape of a mole begins to change. In rare cases, however, melanomas occur as new moles.
Lots of people have somewhat brown spots or moles on the sole of their feet. And in most cases, these moles are completely harmless. But then, you must be able to quickly identify any changes in these moles. This is very crucial to the early recognition and diagnosis of melanoma.
So how can you recognize changes in the brown spots on your soles? We will give you 2 acronyms to help you remember the typical signs of changing moles.
The first acronym is ABCDE:
- Asymmetry – The 2 halves of the lesion are not identical.
- Border – The border of the mole is irregular, indistinct, or ragged.
- Color – The mole/lesion has two or more colors.
- Diameter – The diameter of the brown spot or lesion is more than 6mm.
- Evolution – The spot begins to undergo gradual changes in color, size, or shape.
If you notice one or more of these, you should pay a visit to a nearby clinic and have an expert examine the mole. The ABCDE acronym is a general rule for identifying all forms of melanoma. It is true for foot melanomas, as well as other parts of the body.
There is, however, another acronym that specifically helps to identify foot melanoma. This is the second acronym we will share with you – CUBED.
- Colored – A spot on your sole that has a different color from other parts.
- Uncertain – The diagnosis is uncertain (or not definite).
- Bleeding – The spot is leaking fluid or bleeding.
- Enlargement – Despite treatment, the spot gets bigger with time.
- Delay – The spot does not enlarge, but it has not healed in over 2 months despite treatment.
Other signs that could indicate foot melanoma are as follows:
- A foot sore that refuses to heal
- When you notice the pigment in the spot spreading across its border to surrounding areas
- Sensation changes, including itchiness, pain, or tenderness
- Surface changes, including bleeding, scaling, or oozing.
- A nodule or bump begins to appear.
If you see 2 or more of the symptoms above, you should see a specialist for proper evaluation and diagnosis.
Foot Melanoma Treatment
Early diagnosis is very vital for the successful treatment of foot melanoma. If it is diagnosed in the early stages, its treatment would be much easier. More so, the treatment plan for melanoma would depend on the cancer stage.
In stage zero, the melanoma has not gone beyond your skin’s top layer (or your epidermis). But in stages one and two, the brown spot would be thicker. There is a possibility at these stages that the spot has broken your skin. But then, the cancer is still yet to spread.
In stages one and two, treatment is very simple. Your doctor might just cut the mole out, as well as its surrounding skin. Experts call this method excision. It is often performed in a dermatologist’s office.
Complications may begin to arise in stages three and four of foot melanoma. In stage three, the melanoma has spread to lymph nodes. It may also have spread to another spot on the foot or near it.
Stage four is the most dangerous and serious form. At this point, the cancer cells have migrated to other body parts or even internal organs. Stages three and four are life-threatening. They are advanced stages.
In advanced stages, you may need more complex treatment options. The plan may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, lymphadenectomy, and/or radiation therapy.
You have higher risks of melanoma if you are exposed to UV light for long periods and regularly. We know that your soles rarely have sun exposure. However, you may want to take some precautions to help reduce your foot melanoma risks. They are as follows:
1. Wearing socks and shoes or water shows rather than wearing flip-flops or going barefoot.
2. Use adequate sunscreen for places that your shoes and clothing do not cover.
3. Inspect your feet daily. This should include your soles and underneath your toenails, as well as between your toes. You may need to remove your nail polish to thoroughly inspect underneath your toenails
4. Avoid Ultraviolet drying lamps while doing your pedicure
5. Avoid the UV radiation that comes from sunlight between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. This is very vital for infants and younger children.
But beyond these prevention tips, make sure you monitor any brown spots on bottom of feet. If you notice any changes that could indicate melanoma, make sure you book an appointment with a doctor immediately for proper evaluation.