October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so you have likely seen numerous stories highlighting the importance of annual mammograms and performing self breast exams. These screenings are invaluable tools to detect breast cancer early and begin treatment. However, research reveals an association between breast cancer and melanoma, making annual skin exams equally important.
Studies Show Connection between Breast Cancer and Melanoma
Several studies have shown a bi-directional connection between breast cancer and melanoma, meaning that having had breast cancer increases the risk of developing melanoma, and vice versa. Researchers believe that this connection points to a genetic predisposition linking the risks of breast cancer and melanoma.
Additionally, studies also show that breast cancer patients who have undergone radiation treatment are at an even greater risk of developing melanoma in the future. Thus, if you have been treated for other cancers, including breast cancer, keeping up with an annual or bi-annual skin exam is especially important.
Breast Cancer Cells May Spread to Skin
In addition to a potential genetic link between the incidences of breast cancer and melanoma, cancerous cells that originate from breast cancer or other internal cancers have the potential to spread to the skin. This condition, called cutaneous metastasis, often develops on the chest and may present as a red rash or infection.
Breast cancer is the most common internal cancer to cause cutaneous metastasis, while lung cancer is the most common cause of this secondary cancer in men.
Early Detection Is Crucial
Keeping up with regular breast cancer and skin cancer screenings is so important to your health, since both of these cancers are most successfully treated when caught early. Scheduling your mammogram and yearly skin exam at the same time can help you stay on track and make sure you are not missing either of these crucial early detection screenings.
If you don’t already see a board-certified dermatologist at least annually for a skin exam, contact our Boca Raton office today at 561-246-6328 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment, with one of our highly skilled board certified dermatologists.
You also still have time to sign up for our blood drive in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place on Monday, October 25, 2021 from 10am to 4pm. The first 25 people who sign up will receive a $25 gift card to Sanctuary Medical!