Photos show a young woman with a tumor in the big toe of her foot.
Every so often people come to see me with the most interesting foot problems. Most recently, a young woman came to see me with a tumor in her foot.
Having seen my share of cancers in the feet of my patients, that was my first concern. The Worst Case Scenario is the way that we doctors are trained to think. Most days I provide my patients with reassurance: “it isn’t fracture”, “you do not need surgery” etc.
Giving reassurance is great. It eases a patient’s anxiety and they feel better, even if their foot is still sore. It’s like a verbal placebo. I am certain that if someone decided to market a talking box which featured a doctor’s reassuring voice informing prospective patients not to worry as all is just fine, the workloads among physicians would diminish to a considerable degree!
Informing a patient they have a fracture, a tumor, or must have an amputation performed is difficult. In fact, some sources say that the term “cancer” is one of the most terrifying words there is in many languages. People fear cancer more than “heart attack” or “stroke,” even though these can also be lethal.
When my staff tells me I have a phone call from a pathologist, it is rarely if ever good news. Pathologists are quite like the tax collectors of the medical sector: Everyone is well aware that taxes have to be paid but whenever you get a call from the tax collector, prepare yourself to experience the pain. Even though I try to be positive, I have found patients are generally grateful when I promptly tell them bad news.
Fortunately, in this young woman’s case, the tumor turned out to be benign. She went on to heal up well and has never seen this ugly beast again. Below are the surgical photos and a photo of the woman’s foot when it was all healed up.
Warning: They are very graphic so you might not want to scroll down to see them if you just had a big meal.
Though I find such cases interesting, I hope no one reading this has to ever deal with this type of problem.
I recall an experience I had as young intern. At a meeting one night at the hospital I had asked an older doctor, “Did you see anything interesting today?” He replied, “No, and that’s just the way I like it.”