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Do’s and Don’ts for Avoiding Skin Cancer on Your Feet

As the days get warmer many of our patients at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Care can’t wait to trade boots for sandals and flip-flops. Perhaps that’s why May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a good time to review some precautions for protecting your skin from this deadly disease.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer with 5 million cases being diagnosed each year. Fortunately, 85-90 percent of the cancers are preventable if you protect yourself from the sun. Below are some tips for reducing your risk.

Do: remember that your feet are as vulnerable as the rest of your body to skin cancer. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin about 30 minutes before going out. Even a day of site seeing or shopping in sandals or other open shoes requires this protection.

Don’t: forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming. A broad-spectrum type that protects against UVA and UVB rays is best. Choose one with an SPF of 15 or higher.  A water-resistant type is good if you will be swimming or sweating excessively.

Do: try to avoid being in direct sun during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—that’s when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

Do: conduct regular self-checks of the skin on your feet (as well as the rest of your body). Don’t neglect the area between your toes.

Do: familiarize yourself with the warning signs of a mole or freckle that may be cancerous:

  • Asymmetrical shape (not the same on both sides if you were to draw a line down the middle of the mole)
  • Borders that are irregular and jagged
  • Multi-colored and mottled in appearance
  • More than ¼ inch in diameter (that’s about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil)

Don’t: put off making an appointment with one of our podiatrists, Dr. Varun Gujral and Dr. Nrupa Shah to get suspicious moles examined. Contact our Edison, Monroe or Monmouth Junction office by calling: 732-662-3050.

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