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Study links breast cancer and melanoma

Posted on: September 30, 2009

study melanoma breast cancerA recent study published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science found that women with breast cancer have an increased risk of developing melanoma and women with melanoma are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer. This is the first time researchers have explicitly advised doctors to monitor breast cancer patients for signs of melanoma, and vice versa.


In 2006, Ivis Febus-Sampayo noticed that the small mole on the right side of her face looked a bit darker. Within weeks, it appeared to protrude. “I thought, ‘This can’t be skin cancer!’- I’m of Hispanic heritage and olive-skinned,” Febus-Sampayo recalls. Living in the Northeast, she rarely went out in the sun, and didn’t wear sunscreen. But due to her history of breast cancer, she had the mole evaluated anyway. “I was extremely surprised when my pathology results showed melanoma. I was devastated.” Luckily, the melanoma was caught and treated early.

The Foundation recommends that high-risk patients undergo an annual full-body skin screening by a physician. And self-exams are just as important, coupled with the practice of rigorous sun protection methods. Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in the skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer. For instructions on how to perform a self-exam, visit


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