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The Truth About How Melanoma and Breast Cancer Are Related

Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Approximately 43,600 women will die from their diagnosis this year alone. If these statistics are shocking, good: Keep reading. October is breast cancer awareness month and while every cancer is a battle, breast cancer patients are at higher risk than the general population for contracting melanoma in addition to their breast cancer, making an annual screening with a dermatologist a must. Here’s what to expect from your annual appointment.

We know annual appointments can be hard to stay on top of, but a skin check is a quick, painless appointment that can be scheduled during your lunch break. 

The exam takes only twenty minutes and you won’t be poked or prodded unless we find a particularly suspicious spot that we want to send to the lab for testing. Most of the time, this is simply a step we take as a precaution, but if we find something we want to have a second look at we’ll scrape or shave a small sample of the lesion and send it in for analysis. If you are a breast cancer survivor or are currently battling cancer, let us know ahead of your appointment so we can take extra care. 

Whether you have dealt with cancer in the past or not, your body changes over time. New moles, growths, and lesions can appear over time. Most of these new dark spots are harmless, but we’ll confirm this during your appointment by taking note of new spots and keeping an eye out for shifts in size, color, and texture.

In addition to checking for harmful and potentially dangerous lesions, we can also discuss insecurities or other issues that come up as a result of dark spots and lesions, or simply general skin concerns you’d like to have more information about. Your annual skin check is a great time to discuss any aesthetic concerns with us. 

For those suffering from breast cancer, the long-term changes that come with taking tamoxifen can take a toll, and it’s important to regain confidence — sometimes that means investing in products that help your skin recover and look its best. We recommend ZO Anti-aging kit, Self-activating vitamin C, and Brightalive for a well-rounded routine that strengthens without redness or irritation. 

If your concerns are worry over aging skin, we also have you covered. With retinoids of varying strengths available, the Retinol Skin Brightener is a great option that starts at 0.25% and builds to 0.5% and 1% for a clinically proven rejuvenation. 

Whether you’re interested in the full routine or just a product or two to fight the visible signs of aging, cooler weather is coming, and we recommend a calming agent in your routine. Our favorites include the ZO Hydrating Crème, Recovery Crème, and Renewal Crème. However, when you come in for your annual appointment we can discuss the best products for you. 

Of course, the most important reason to have your annual exam is that it could literally save your life. During your skin check, we’ll check for abnormal lesions and run biopsies on anything that looks suspicious.  The biopsy will be sent to the lab which can take up to 10 days to process results. Regardless, we’ll keep you in the loop at every step of the process. Catching melanoma early is critical to surviving this deadly cancer and your annual skin check is one way to ensure your safety. 

Give us a call to book your annual skin exam today: (805) 544-5567.


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Discover comprehensive family dermatological care only at Coastal Dermatology + Aesthetics. If you’re ready to improve the health of your skin, schedule an appointment today by filling out the form below or giving us a call at (805) 544-5567.