You probably never thought of seeing a podiatrist for a skin check, right? Although malignant melanomas are not common in the foot, they do occur and I have seen them. Here are some examples below.
How do you know if it’s malignant?
You don’t. The only one who can tell is a pathologist who looks at the lesion under a microscope. Sure, you can use diagnostic factors and guidelines to give a “probability” of it being malignant, but the only true way to tell is to look at it from a cellular level.
The in-office guidelines are as follows: (known as the ABCD’s)
Asymmetry : If you draw a line through the center, do both sides look the same?
Border: The border of the lesion should be symmetric
Color: Is the color uniform? It should be!
Diameter: Is it bigger than a pencil eraser?
If your lesion violates any of the above parameters, it should be biopsied.
The biopsy involves a simple in office procedure where the lesion is anesthetized by a small injection, and a 3mm size area is sampled by what is called a “punch biopsy”. It is painless and only requires a band-aid. Results are typically back within 10 days.