Melanoma on the leg, foot, or toe

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Melanoma on the leg, foot, or toe

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that begins in cells known as melanocytes, it is less common than the other skin cancers but it is more dangerous because of its ability to spread to the other organs if not treated quickly.

Only 20- 30% of melanomas are found in existing moles but 70-80% arise on normal looking skin!

Melanomas are not so easy to spot initially, especially when they are located on the back and out of sight. The ABCDE checklist provided gives a short but comprehensive list of warning signs.

Superficial spreading melanoma

This is the most common melanoma; it can arise from an existing mole or appear as a new lesion; it grows on the surface of the skin for some time before penetrating more deeply. It is most likely to appear on the torso in men, the legs in women and the upper back in both.

Lentigo maligna melanoma

usually present in older people and is typically present on sun-damaged skin on the face, ears, arms or upper torso. It is superficial initially before it too spreads deeper in the tissues. It may look flat and blotchy with uneven borders

Acral lentiginous melanoma

These are the melanomas that we as podiatrists may see more of as they are located under the nails or on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands. They can be commonly found in people of colour, especially of African origins. An example of this type is Bob Marley whose death was caused by a melanoma under his toe nail.

Nodular melanoma

These are the most aggressive melanomas; they grow deeper into the skin more rapidly than the others and are most frequently found on the torso. legs, arms and scalps in older men. Usually appearing as a blue- black bump on the skin.