Michigan health chief warns of skin cancer danger - WNEM TV 5

Michigan health chief warns of skin cancer danger

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The Chief Medical Executive of the Michigan Department of Community Health is encouraging residents to take some simple steps to lower their risk of skin cancer, especially during the summer months.

"Here in Michigan, I frequently see patients with skin cancer, and that's a shame because it is a largely preventable condition," Dr. Matthew Davis says. "Be sure to limit direct exposure to the sun for everyone between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and remember that adults and children should put on sunscreen frequently to stay safe from the sun's rays.  It's important that adults protect themselves and teach their children healthy habits to reduce the risk of skin cancer."

In 2010, there were 1,926 cases and 282 deaths in Michigan associated with melanoma, the most dangerous and deadliest form of skin cancer. According to the MDCH, the list of cancer dangers include:

  • Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight or tanning beds).
  • Pale skin (easily sunburned; doesn't tan much or at all; natural red or blond hair).
  • Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium.
  • Family or personal history of skin cancers.
  • Multiple or unusual moles.
  • Severe sunburns in the past.

Skin cancer can be found early, and both doctors and patients play important roles in finding skin cancer. The MDCH warns if you have any of the following symptoms, tell your physician:

  • Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color).
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding or a change in the way a bump or nodule looks.
  • The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark. A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness or pain.

For more information about skin cancer prevention, visit the American Cancer Society's web site at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skin-cancer-facts.

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