Cancer can occur in any area of the body, even the feet. Cancer on the feet can be diagnosed by a podiatrist, but if it is advanced, may require more intensive types of treatment.
Types of Cancer Affecting the Feet
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found on the feet. Some of the most common types include:
- Basil cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a nonaggressive type of skin cancer that is typically caused by sun exposure. It generally stays in one spot on the foot and does not spread to other areas. It is characterized by white-colored bumps that often are scaly or seeping fluid and typically occurs on the tops of the feet.
- Malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. It can occur on the tops or bottoms of the feet, or under the toenails. It is characterized by a mole-like appearance that is either black, pink, or red. The mole may have irregular edges and look jagged. This type of cancer can spread to other areas such as the lymph nodes if not treated in its earliest stages.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. The most common type of foot cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. This type of skin cancer may first appear as a small rough patch or bump on the foot. It can also appear as an open sore. It does not typically cause pain, but can crack, bleed, or become itchy. Squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.
In addition to skin cancers, there are other cancers that can affect the feet. Some types of cancer can spread from other areas of the body to the feet. Tumors can occur on the feet. A tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue that can form in the tissue of the feet or on the bones. A tumor can appear as a mass on or under the skin of the foot. You may feel pain or tenderness around the area of the tumor and can also have swelling.
Not all tumors are cancerous. There are benign tumors that can develop in the feet. These can occur on the bones, nerves, and tissues of the feet. Some benign tumors do not require treatment while others may need to be removed.
Signs of Skin Cancer on the Feet
Skin cancer is often painless and does not have many symptoms in its earliest stages. Some signs that may occur are:
- Change in the appearance and shape of a mole
- Blister or spot under the toenail
- A spot that is not symmetrical
- New growth
Diagnosing and Treating Cancers of the Feet
If you notice any signs of cancer on your feet or are experiencing pain, contact a podiatrist for an evaluation. A podiatrist can examine your feet and order diagnostic tests such as an X-ray or MRI as well as a biopsy to determine if the spot or tumor on your foot is cancerous or not. A biopsy is done by taking a sample of the tissue and sending it to a lab for a more detailed examination. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options can be discussed.
For many types of skin cancer, a podiatrist can remove the spot and further treatment may not be required. Benign tumors can also be surgically removed by a podiatrist. For more aggressive types of skin cancers or cancers that affect the bones of your feet, intensive treatments may be needed and you may need to see an oncologist.
Contact a Podiatrist
If you notice a growth or irregularity on your foot, contact Greater Washington Podiatry for an evaluation. We can provide a free initial consultation and can determine the best treatment for your specific condition. To schedule an appointment, fill out our contact form online or call our office at 301-515-FEET.