Malignant Melanoma of the Foot
Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the skin that produce pigmentation (coloration). It is also called malignant melanoma because it spreads to other areas of the body as it grows beneath the surface of the skin. Unlike many other types of cancer, melanoma strikes people of all age groups, even the young.
Melanoma that occurs in the foot or ankle often goes unnoticed during its earliest stage, when it would be more easily treated. By the time melanoma of the foot or ankle is diagnosed, it frequently has progressed to an advanced stage, accounting for a higher mortality rate. This makes it extremely important to follow prevention and early detection measures involving the feet as well as other parts of the body.
Most cases of melanoma are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. This exposure can include intense UV radiation obtained during short periods or lower amounts of radiation obtained over longer periods.
Anyone can get melanoma, but some factors put a person at greater risk for developing this type of cancer. These include:
• Fair skin; skin that freckles; blond or red hair
• Blistering sunburns before the age of 18
• Numerous moles, especially if they appeared at a young age