Show Me Your Soles
Of all the things that you expect to hear from your doctor, “Show Me Your Soles” is not one of them. Mainly because I thought he meant, “Show Me Your Souls.” At first I thought to myself, ‘Does he think that I have two souls?’ and then I thought, ‘Am I THAT moody?’. Then, he pointed at my feet…ahhhh, those soles. But then again I thought, ‘Why does he want to see my soles?”. This was getting weird fast. I showed him the soles of my feet. I guess everything looked fine to him. It made me think that I need to do a little research about skin cancer and the bottoms of people’s feet. I found out stuff.
Who should have thought?
I read an article from The New England Journal of Medicine that took me aback a bit. I had known that melanomas could be found in places where the doesn’t shine, but on the bottoms of feet. Does anyone tan the bottoms of their feet? According to the research article, the cause of melanomas on the soles of feet are not related to sun exposure. Fair enough, that makes sense, but then how do people get them?
Stress again, but a different kind
Evidence showed that areas of the foot with the highest mechanical stress were more likely to develop melanoma lesions. This meant the areas toward the heel and on the balls of the foot showed more susceptibility to developing skin cancer. According to their findings, “Taken together with these observations, our results suggest that mechanical stress also increases the formation of melanomas on the plantar surface.”1
Walk at your own risk?
So, I am a walker. I walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day and that has served me well to lose seventy pounds over the past year. And since nearly everyone walks and even some of us run, we put stress on the soles of our feet. Yay!!! Another thing to worry about! Pardon the sarcasm, but the reality is that melanoma can be lurking in places we may least expect it. Thus, I have a new part of my regimen now. I check my soles and while I am at it I should also check the palms of my hands. Seems my whole body needs to be examined.
More to glean
The article concludes that studies to determine the pathogenesis of melanoma on the soles of feet and lacking. Presumably then, there is much more to be understood in this matter. One thing is for certain, this has once again made me a student of my own disease. It has been my experience that I am my best advocate and that requires me to be a diligent student of the latest research and findings.
Speak up during your skin exams
In this matter my doctor was well informed, but other dermatologists have not been quite as strong in keeping up with latest research. In my experience, many are experts in what they deal with the most in their field, skin conditions like acne, etc. This is understandable, but I have not been shy to gently share with them what I am learning as well. If they truly care about the well- being of their patients, they will welcome the input.
What type of skin cancer were you diagnosed with? (Select all that apply)