Skin Cancer Awareness

May is cancer awareness month. I will make no wisecracks or puns in this blog. I feel confident in the following statement: You would be hard pressed to find an individual who has no relative or friend not touched by some form of cancer. Because of its prevalence, it is extremely important to be aware. What do I mean? Know your family history, examine your skin daily, and follow up with your doctors for your appropriate physicals and exams.

I will not discuss all forms of cancer. The most common that we see with our naked eye is skin cancer: Melanoma, Squamous Cell, and Basal Cell.

  • Basal Cell: MOST COMMON. Originates from the lowest portion of the epidermis.
  • Squamous Cell: Not as common but is more likely to spread and become life threatening. Originates from the middle layer of the epidermis.
  • Melanoma: Least common but MOST AGGRESSIVE. Originates from the pigment producing cells (Melanocytes).

What should we know and be on the lookout for in regards to skin cancer? The ABCs.

  • A Asymmetry: one half of the lesion does not match the other half.
  • B Borders: the borders of the lesion are irregular, blurred, or notched.
  • C Color: the color of the lesion is not the same all over. Shades of tan, brown, or black may be present. Melanomas may even show reds OR blues.
  • D Diameter: the lesion is larger than . Melanomas could be smaller.
  • E Evolution: has the lesion changed in size, shape, color, or elevation. Does the lesion itch or bleed.

The foot is not the most common place for skin cancer, but it can occur. Melanoma can present as a black, longitudinal, band/stripe on the nail. This black band is known as the Hutchinson sign and needs to be taken seriously. This is more common in the African American population.

This is not meant to make you paranoid about your skin. My only goal is to arm you with knowledge and an understanding of the importance of knowing your body.

If you have noticed some skin lesions that are worrisome OR have any foot/ankle related concerns, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit

Photo Credit: Michal Marcol via

Category: Skin Problems

Tags: Basil Cell, Melanoma, Skin Cancer