May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and at Patrick Fettinger, DPM LLC we know our patients will soon be enjoying sunny summer days on Fairfield County lakes and beaches. When it comes to skin cancer, most people don’t think about their feet. For this reason, when cancer is found on the sole of the foot or between the toes it is often at an advanced stage. Fortunately, skin cancer is the most preventable form of cancer. Nearly 90% of all cases are a result of exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Below are 4 steps you can take to protect your skin.
- Inspect the skin on your feet (and the rest of your body too) regularly. Know the warning signs of moles that may be cancerous: irregular borders, multi-colored, asymmetrical and diameter of larger than the end of a pencil eraser. Any mole on your foot that’s changing—getting larger, crusting over or bleeding, etc. is cause for an examination by our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger. Contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office for an appointment.
- Use sunscreen any time you’ll be outside. Even shopping or running errands in sandals exposes your skin to the harmful rays of the sun. For beach or pool days, apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply every two hours or after swimming.
- Never use tanning beds! These increase your risk of melanoma dramatically.
- Try not to spend prolonged time outside when the sun is at its strongest. That is normally between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have to be out then, keep feet covered or seek shade as much as possible.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have an unusual spot on your foot or concerns about an existing mole or freckle.