London, June 13 : They're the latest fad, and the coolest footwear in the hot summer season, giving you the much desired casual look, but according to experts, the much-loved flip-flops can put people at risk of developing skin cancer on their feet.
Foot doctors have warned that because the footwear leaves so much skin exposed and is not generally used to UV rays, wearers are increasing their chances of skin cancer.
Cancer that affects the feet is known as "acral melanoma" and typically occurs on the sole of the foot, between the toes or under the toenails.
Anthony Kontos, head of the clinic at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, said patients often mistook skin cancer on the feet for bruising.
"With the increasing popularity of open-toed sandals and flip-flops, feet often have a sudden blast of intense sunlight," the Telegraph quoted Kontos, as saying.
"Our feet are enclosed in shoes most of the year and then we pack our sandals for a holiday in very hot temperatures. This means feet are particularly susceptible to sunburn.
"People are generally aware of checking other parts of their body for suspicious moles but they're unlikely to examine their feet," he added.
He further explained that initial discomfort is hard to spot and is often diagnosed at a late stage, which by then has spread to other parts of the body.
A British Skin Foundation spokesman said: "The fact is that all types of skin cancer are on the rise."
"Women especially are susceptible because any lotion applied to the bridge of the foot gets rubbed off by sandals," he added.
Veteran singer Bob Marley died from a melanoma on his foot he believed was a football injury. He singer refused to have his toe amputated for religious reasons and died when the cancer spread.