PHOENIX -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and with the attention being focused on detection and prevention, one local dermatologist is hoping the same will go for skin checks.
Dr. Christine Lin with Affiliated Dermatology is hoping to raise awareness for skin checks, especially for breast cancer survivors. She says these survivors are at higher risk for developing melanoma.
"For breast cancer survivors that are over the age of 45, they have a 12 percent increased risk for developing melanoma and that risk is 38 percent for breast cancer survivors that are under the age of 45. Women who have had radiation therapy, for them that risk increases even further."
Charlotte Shaff knows the dangers all too well. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and had five tumors in her right breast. Soon after, she had a bilateral mastectomy and shortly after that, she got her skin checked.
"I came in and had five mole biopsy and two of them came back as pre cancerous," she said.
Dr. Lin says these moles could have turned into melanoma if it wouldn't have been for early detection and although they don't know the direct melanoma-breast cancer link, "It could be underlying genetic mutations. It could be environmental factors it could be behavioral factors."
The numbers are just too high to risk it.
"You need to get your skin checked. If you're going to get your mammogram, you need to get your skin checked too. It doesn't matter what pigment your skin is, there can be a mole that can turn into something and it's better to be safe than sorry," said Shaff.
Dr. Christine Lin
Locations in Scottsdale, Deer Valley, Anthem, Surprise, Gilbert, Ahwatukee, Tempe