Oncological foot treatment by a podologist
Joeri Plovie, Podiatrist en Sales Representative
A clear side effect of oncological treatments
Cancer is a leading cause of death and morbidity worldwide. Recent improved therapies have resulted in more cancer patients surviving and living longer. Despite this progress, most patients develop side effects from anti-cancer therapies.
Changes to the foot such as nail toxicity, hand-foot syndrome, oedema, xerosis, hyperkeratosis and neuropathy often occur in cancer patients.
Awareness is key
To date no podological screening and treatment strategies have been developed to prevent or reduce foot complications in cancer patients. Insight into this problem related to anti-cancer treatments by the patient, podologist and oncological team is vital for optimum communication with and management and treatment of these patients.
“Dermatologic conditions are varied and can have a huge impact on patient health, the total costs of treatment, quality of life and the consistency of the anti-cancer treatment.”
The main task of a podologist is to recognise complications at an early stage and to screen the foot to enable early intervention or preventive action. It is extremely important to keep the feet in optimum condition.
Our podologists often see that the nails become thicker or more brittle. With proper treatment we can eliminate these problems. Pathological hyperkeratosis (calluses) is also carefully removed and ingrowing toenails are prevented or treated. In this way we minimise the risks of wounds and infections, as the resistance of the patient is considerably weakened.
No official guideline as yet
There are no official guidelines for oncological foot treatment by a podologist, as there are for people with diabetes and arthritis. But it is important that the treating doctor is aware of the treatment and any complications/infections.
 Sibaud V, Dalenc F, Chevreau C, et al.: HFS-14, a specific quality of life scale developed for patients suffering from hand-foot syndrome. The oncologist 16: 1469, 2011.
 Lacouture ME: Dermatologic Principles and Practice in Oncology: Conditions of the Skin, Hair, and Nails in Cancer Patients. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.