How a Wokingham chiropodist saved a life

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A Wokingham foot doctor saved a young woman’s life by spotting an unusual looking mole last month.

Podiatrist Richard Roll noticed a small, discoloured and slightly raised blemish on the sole of the woman’s foot during an examination and suggested she had it checked by her GP.

Both the GP and the dermatologist considered the mole to be nothing, but removed it anyway within a month.

The biopsy revealed it to be a form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.

The patient, who would like to remain anonymous, is in her 30s and only required Mr Roll’s assistance as she required insoles in her shoes.

Mr Roll, of Wokingham Podiatry and Chiropody Clinic on Rose Street, said: “She came back and thanked me for saving her life. Occasions like that make the job worthwhile.”

The mole was a stage one tumour and had the potential to spread quite quickly.

“She was completely unaware she had a mole there. People tend not to think of cancer on their feet. 

“You walk around this time of year in t-shirts and then put suntan lotion on their arms and face, but your feet are just as susceptible.”

Regular visits to a Podiatrist could be more beneficial than imagined, although it is rare to discover a cancerous mole on your foot.

Mr Roll explained: “I’ve seen four or five cancerous cases in the last ten years. It’s something as a podiatrist you have to be aware of.

“It is more common than people realise. Bob Marley had melanoma which started on his toe. He subsequently had a four-year cancer battle which led to his death.”

Find out more about melanomas by visiting www.nhs.uk.

How to spot melanoma

The NHS website suggests differentiating between a normal mole and a melanoma by looking out for its ABCDE checklist.

  • Asymmetrical: melanomas are irregular shapes
  • Border: melanomas have a ragged border
  • Colours: melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours
  • Diameter: most are larger than 6mm in diameter
  • Enlargement: a mole that changes size over time


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