The long-awaited summer heat seems to have finally arrived, but with the sun’s rays it’s better to go easy: skin cancer passes right there.
Who says summer says sun and tan. And therefore skin protection. Now that the long-awaited summer heat seems to have finally arrived, nobody misses the opportunity for a nice tan to show off during the classic swimsuit fitting. But, as the experts never tire of repeating, the utmost caution is needed: the consequences can be very unpleasant.
It can be fun to bask in the heat and get a tan, but bad – or at least excessive – exposure of the skin to sunlight and heat can lead to very serious side effects, such as the onset of cancer. And this is nothing new. The aspect on which it is worth paying attention is that this deadly disease can also occur in parts of the body where the sun rarely shineslike feet.
The sneaky harbinger of skin cancer
In Italy (and elsewhere) the number of new cases of melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer, is constantly growing. As with any other type of cancer, survival rates are highest when the disease is detected quickly. But since most people never check their feet for signs of melanoma, the invisible enemy can spread before it is noticed. What are the signs that should alarm us?
The first warning sign on our feet is open sores, or cuts that heal and reopen quickly. Of course, the other 8 main signs of skin cancer should also be kept an eye out. The most common is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole. In detail:
- Neo with a mix of colors
- Big fly in the ointment
- Neo that changes over time
- Swollen mole
- Bloody mole
- Itchy mole
- Mole with scab
- Mole that looks like a line under a nail
According to some experts, the melanoma that appears on the foot can be linked to mechanical stress. This is what emerged from a Japanese study published a few years ago by New England Journal of Medicine. “We should more frequently suspect melanoma when a localized pigmented lesion develops in plantar areas affected by mechanical stress, including the heel,” said study author Ryuhei Okuyama of Shinshu University School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan.
“Although sun exposure is the main risk factor for cutaneous melanoma, the malignancy can also develop in unexposed parts of the body,” Okuyama and his colleagues confirmed. In women, skin cancers most often occur on the legswhile men are more likely to notice a melanoma on the back or torso.
The first recommendation is always to keep your body under control: examine your skin from head to toe once a month to identify potential skin cancers in advance. Especially take note of existing moles or lesions that grow or change over time. If in doubt, do not hesitate to undergo a check. Because melanoma can be extremely dangerous when it gets to an advanced stage, see your doctor right away if you see a spot that doesn’t look normal.
It should also be kept in mind that, although important, monthly self-exams are not enough. It is the case of see a dermatologist at least once a year for a thorough professional examination of the skin. If you have had melanoma, see your doctor regularly after treatment is completed and strictly adhere to the recommended program in order to detect any recurrence as soon as possible.