Henry Ford Macomb Hospital: 'Healthy Skin Is Made in the Shade'

This may not be the Sunshine State, but even in Michigan, skin cancer is a real risk.

         “It’s a major concern. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States,” says Henry Ford Macomb family medicine physician Farrah Hafeez, DO. “Even on cloudy days, harmful rays can reflect off of surfaces such as water, cement, sand, and snow. UV protection is needed all year round.”

         In fact, about 250 people in Michigan die of melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) every year — the rate of melanoma deaths in Michigan has doubled since 1975.

         Basal cell carcinoma – the most common skin cancer – and squamous cell carcinoma may resemble an open sore, a red patch or a wart. Squamous cell carcinoma may crust or bleed. Melanoma will often look like a mole and is usually black or brown, although it can also be pink, red, purple, white or flesh-colored. When caught early, melanoma is usually curable, but if it spreads, it is usually fatal.

         “People often believe that skin cancer is ‘not a big deal’ and ‘can simply be removed,’” Dr. Hafeez adds. “This assumption is false. While basal cell and squamous cell are often curable, they can disfigure you. Melanoma, on the other hand, is dangerous and causes the most deaths. Extended sun exposure can have lasting effects. Our young people may not take sun cancer seriously now, but they need to realize that the choices they make can have detrimental effects in the long run.”

         Dr. Hafeez advises the following precautions:

  1. Don’t get sunburned. Sun overexposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
  2. Don’t sun tan or use tanning beds.
  3. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outdoors. It should be at least SPF 15 or higher and ‘broad spectrum’ or UVA/UVB coverage. Reapply at least every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  4. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Tight-woven fabrics and dark colors confer the most protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your head, face, ears and neck.
  5. Don’t forget your UV-blocking sunglasses.
  6. Stay in the shade — especially when the sun's UV rays are most intense, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“Perform regular skin self-examinations so you are familiar with your skin,” she adds. “Consult your physician on how to do the exam and how often. Web sites from the American Academy of Dermatology and The Skin Cancer Foundation can help guide you too. It’s a small investment in time, but it could be lifesaving.”


To connect with a Henry Ford Macomb primary care or specialty physician who meets your unique needs, go to henryfordmacomb.com or call 800-532-2411.

Gifts Afloat Moves to New Location on Nautical Mile
Gifts Afloat, one of the largest and best nautical gift stores in Michigan, has moved to a new location on the Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores. According owner Donna Flaherty, the re-opened location is 25020 Jefferson south of 10 Mile between West Marine and Mike's Marine in St. Clair Shores.
Outdoor Hub : Lake St. Clair Offers Prime Summer Bass Fishing
Although mostly known for smallmouths, Lake St. Clair boasts excellent largemouths, too. Ask 10 bass fishermen to rattle off the best bass lakes in Michigan and if nine of them don’t mention Lake St. Clair right off the bat, there’s something wrong with your sample. Lake St. Clair is and always has been one of the best bass lakes—and not only in Michigan, but in the country. In fact, it’s one of the best bass lakes in two countries, as Michigan shares the 430-square mile Great Lakes connecting water with Ontario, Canada.
MBIA Promotes Safe Boating on Michigan Waters
The Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) reminds all to be safe on the water as spring launch approaches.
Michigan Recreational Boating Industries Educational Foundation Re-launch Announced
The Recreational Boating Industries Educational Foundation (RBIEF) Board of Directors has announced a new direction for the foundation and has made a commitment to provide education and support to all members of the Michigan Boating Industries Association.
Lake St. Clair a great North American fishing destination
The Lake St. Clair fishery - which includes fish, people and habitat - is widely regarded as one of the best in North America, and provides significant social and economic benefits. Fish such as yellow perch (the favorite food fish in the Great Lakes) and walleye represent significant protein sources. Economically, the Michigan waters of the Lake St. Clair system generated $36 million in economic activity in 2004 alone. Fishing is, for many, a lot of fun, and as a recreational fishery, it provides many physical and mental benefits to people. Moreover, a healthy fish population equals a more stable ecosystem.
The Start to Better Health is at Home!
Getting fit doesn't require signing up for the local yoga or spinning classes. Instead, getting adequate exercise can be found right in your living room. Try out these simple, targeted exercises to stay in shape.