Why Early Detection & Yearly Check-Ups are Important

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Affiliated Dermatology would like to remind everyone of the importance of early detection and the value of yearly exams.

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer reported that breast cancer survivors were 16 percent more likely to develop melanoma than women who had never had breast cancer. Patients who underwent radiation therapy exhibited a 42 percent increased risk for melanoma.

Annual dermatological checkups are not only important for breast cancer survivors but for all adults. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and unfortunately is on the rise. Per the American Cancer Society, there will be approximately 284,000 new breast cancer cases reported in 2021 and 106,000 new cases of melanoma.

In between your yearly skin exams, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends you check your skin and your partner’s skin regularly for new or suspicious lesions.

Early detection of melanoma is as simple as knowing your ABCDE’s:
Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other.
Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, irregular, or blurred.
Color: The color is not the same throughout and may contain shades of tan, brown, black, red, white, and/or blue.
Diameter: The mole is greater than 6-millimeters – roughly the size of a pencil eraser.
Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, color, or bleeds easily.

Breast cancer patients should be vigilant about monitoring skin changes and moles with regular self-exams and annual visits to their dermatologist.

For additional resources on early detection and sun safety click on these links:
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/american-cancer-society-recommendations-for-the-early-detection-of-breast-cancer
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/find/at-risk/abcdes
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/find/check-skin
https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/sunscreen-patients/sunscreen-faqs

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