What does breast cancer have to do with dermatology?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You may be asking "What does that have to do with dermatology?" As a matter of fact, there is an association between breast cancer and melanoma. For years there has been only speculation as to why the two cancers are linked. However, a new very large study has shown a four-fold increase in patients with both cancers than you would expect to see based on probability. The four-fold increase gives a greater likelihood of the two cancers being linked by a genetic predisposition. Additionally, it is found that women under 50 with breast cancer are at a higher risk of melanoma as are breast cancer patients who have been treated with External Radiation Therapy.

Here at Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center, we are joining other dermatologist and oncologists everywhere and urging women to get into the habit of scheduling their annual skin exam at the same time as their mammogram. If you are not of the age to get mammograms yet, we still recommend annual skin exams. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults (especially women ages 25-29). Remember that full body skin exams are the best screening tool for Melanoma. Melanomas that are caught early have a much greater change of survival.
Remember to schedule your Mammogram and Skin Exam...and tell your friends!

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