Pedicurists are in the unique position of being able to advise clients of the risks and educate them about sunscreen use.
When slathering on the sunscreen, how many of us think to apply it to our feet? Yet feet remain vulnerable to the damaging effects of sun exposure. In fact, physicians from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons warn skin cancer of the foot is prevalent and can even be fatal if not caught early. Pedicurists are in the unique position of being able to advise clients of the risks and educate them about sunscreen use.
While all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, can be found on the foot, the most common is the most serious form, melanoma. Symptoms can be as subtle as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle found anywhere on the foot, and often go unnoticed without routine foot exams.
According to foot and ankle surgeon Thanh Dinh, DPM, FACFAS, early diagnosis is key to effective treatment for the condition. But because people aren’t looking for the early warning signs or taking the same precautions they do for other areas of the body, often skin cancer in this region is not diagnosed until later stages.
“I advise my patients to regularly inspect their feet, including the soles, in between their toes and even under their toenails, for any changing moles or spots and to have any suspicious areas promptly examined by a foot and ankle specialist,” says Dr. Dinh.