Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the main cause of skin cancer is being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun?
Warm summer weather often means taking part in more outdoor activities. While it’s important to be more active, when it comes to being out in the sun, be sure to take care of your skin.
As a component of summer safety, Trinity Health would like to encourage you to care for yourself and your loved ones by reminding you of the importance of regular skin screenings.
Your primary care physician (PCP) or other health care professional might advise that you perform routine skin self-exams to check for the development of any unusual changes.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the best time to do this is after a shower or bath. Check your skin in a room with plenty of light and use a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror to learn where your birthmarks, moles, and other marks are as well as their usual look and feel.
If you find anything that looks unusual, such as a sore that won’t heal, a new mole that is different from others or a change in the way one of your moles looks, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor.
Having a PCP who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice.
If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.
Trinity Health is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.
Ready to find a doctor?
Our high-quality primary care doctors are ready to care for you. Schedule an appointment with one today.
In recognition and celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Amy Kirby MD, FACS, recently participated in a Q&A highlighting the importance of education and the early detection of breast cancer. Dr. Kirby is a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast surgery and serves as medical director of the Breast Program at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital.
1. How many people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year?
According to the latest cancer research, there are more than 270,000 new breast cancer diagnoses annually in the United States. In 2019, it is estimated that more than 42,000 people died as a result of their diagnosis. Closer to home, 9,310 new cases of breast cancer occurred in Michigan in 2019 and more than 1,400 deaths.
2. Does breast cancer only impact women or is it something men need to be concerned with too?
I do treat men for breast cancer, however, by and large the vast majority of my patients are women. The lifetime risk of breast cancer for men is 1 in 833, versus 1 in 8 for women. To put this in perspective, men account for only 1% of newly diagnosed breast cancers each year.
3. When and how should women self-examine for breast cancer?
There are varying opinions within the medical community as it relates to the efficacy of self-exams for breast cancer, however, I strongly believe that women should do a monthly self-exam.
I have had many patients who have identified cancers through self-exam. Women know their bodies and should notify their physician if they suspect something doesn’t feel right.
4. At what age should women begin screening for breast cancer? What should they do if they have a family history of breast cancer?
Women at average risk for breast cancer should begin annual mammograms at age 40. Women with a family history of breast cancer should begin 10 years earlier than the age when their family member was first diagnosed or at age 40, whichever comes first.
For example, if a woman’s mother had breast cancer at age 45, the daughter would start her annual mammograms at age 35. If the mother had breast cancer at 55, her daughter would start mammography at age 40.
Additionally, women who are considered at high risk (a lifetime risk of over 20%) should have a breast MRI performed in addition to annual mammograms.
5. Are there support groups or other resources for people currently fighting breast cancer?
As is the case at many Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland offers a support group led by breast cancer nurse navigators. Our navigators are trusted partners that help patients along their care journey. From diagnosis, through treatment and into recovery, our navigators are available to provide guidance and support. Our cancer resource center offers additional supportive services for patients and their families.
6. Is there any other information you think is important for people to know about breast cancer?
As women, I know we have busy lives and that it may seem overwhelming at times. The best advice I can give is to get your annual mammogram and to attend wellness visits with your primary care physician. Breast cancer treatment is usually very successful, but the most important factor is its early detection.
We have made remarkable advancements in the treatment of breast cancer. Women now have access to personalized care plans depending on their particular cancer’s features.
In addition to screenings, Michigan residents should also know that our cancer trials remain open and available amid the COVID-19 pandemic to any patient that meets trial criteria. I highly encourage all those battling cancer to speak with your doctor and ask if you qualify.
On June 6, 2019, “Life is Remarkable” Campaign lead donors and volunteers celebrated and toured the renewed and re-opened Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Center with Health System leaders and hospital president Bill Manns.
“When we talk about the impact of your gifts for the Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Center, the real measurement is the lives you are saving, extending and making better. ‘Life is Remarkable’ is more than a campaign, it’s a belief we practice every day, because patients are fighting cancer every day,” said Bill Manns, President, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston.
Each day, approximately 200 patients receive care at St. Joe’s transformed Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Center, re-opened December 2018 with thanks to 1,024 donors to St. Joe’s “Life is Remarkable” campaign.
“This project was built upon a legacy of support from donors who gave to the original cancer center more than 25 years ago, and have continued to serve as partners in our healing mission. We are grateful for the ongoing support, and to the generous community members, physicians and staff who are making an incredible impact today through their inspirational giving to the “Life is Remarkable” Campaign,” said David Ripple, SJMHS Vice President for Development.
Your support is still needed. Because every patient has a life that is remarkable.
To date, gifts for the Campaign have reached $9.5 million toward the $10 million philanthropy goal. And, the first two phases of our campaign are complete – renewing and re-opening our Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Center and transforming our services.
Additional gifts through December 2019 will help complete the campaign, supporting the Cancer Care Innovation Endowment and the future of cancer care for our patients.
To learn more or make your gift, please contact the Office of Development:
Katie Elliott, Director of Major and Planned Gifts, at 734-712-3919 or Katie.Elliott@stjoeshealth.org Karen Campbell, Gift Officer, at 734-712-2890
Karen Campbell, Gift Officer, at 734-712-2890 Karen.Campbell@stjoeshealth.org
Melissa Sheppard, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, at 734-712-4079 or Melissa.Sheppard@stjoeshealth.org
The pastime of upcycling, flipping and finding hidden treasures at vintage markets, flea markets and resale venues has become a national pastime. But that’s not what inspired Gary Klapperich, a 3rd generation Dexter resident and owner of Klapperich Welding since 1979, to establish the “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” fundraising event that features a rummage sale, auction, 50/50 raffle, cook-out and more. Gary was responding to a much more serious trend…he started the event to help fight cancer.
Nearly twelve years ago, Gary was diagnosed with colon cancer. Having never been to a hospital before, he shared the diagnosis was terrifying. To treat the cancer, Gary underwent a successful surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, followed by chemotherapy at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. It was during the long hours of infusion that Gary kept his spirits up with the Travis Tritt tune “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive.”
Gary was so grateful for the care he received from his surgeon Jennifer Kulick, MD, and oncologist Katie Beekman, MD, and their care teams, he joined with fellow members from the Ann Arbor Fraternal Order of Eagles #2154 and the Dexter American Legion #557 to launch an annual fundraising event named for the song, to support cancer care.
They were inspired by the care Gary received and the idea that same level of care could be possible close to home for more families. They were early to join the community in supporting St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea’s current Cancer Center. Gifts made it possible to open the Cancer Center in 2014 and offer state-of-the-art radiation, chemotherapy and surgical services as well as a healing environment for personalized care.
“I wanted to show my gratitude and help others. I’m so lucky I have some great people in my life to help me do that and who take pride in supporting the cancer center like I do,” said Klapperich. “I think people are drawn to rummage sales because it’s exciting to find something others see as broken or forgotten, and you take it home and shine it up and make it new again. When you have cancer, you really rely on your doctors to fix you up and make you new again, and their dedication to giving you a second chance makes you love life more than ever.”
The “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” event gained popularity over the years. Gary and friends have raised an overall total of $275,000 in support of cancer care at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.
Today, Gary gets regular colon cancer screenings and is cancer free. His renewed health gave him the chance to marry the love of his life, Karin, on September 13, 2014. And, yes, Gary will tell you, “That was the greatest day to be alive. She is my very best friend.”
Gary, Karin and the other leaders involved remain dedicated to ensuring event guests, many who would not likely get screened otherwise, understand its benefits and know that St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea has seamless screening, diagnosis and treatment options.
“Every year, this fundraiser brings together friends and families to support the fight against cancer in our community,” said Nancy Graebner, president, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea. “In no small part due to Gary’s own inspirational cancer journey, what began as a small community effort has grown to have a significant impact.”
To learn about how you can support St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, please contact Katie Elliott, Development Director Katie.Elliott@stjoeshealth.org or 734-712-3919.
If you are interested in learning more about colon cancer screening, call 734-593-5650.
Colon Cancer Screening
Colon Cancer Screening In 2017, there was an estimated 95,500 new cases of colon cancer in the U.S.
The slow growth from precancerous polyps to invasive cancer provide a unique opportunity for prevention and early detection.
Screening is recommended beginning at age 50 for people at average risk, and earlier for people at increased risk because of family history or certain medical conditions.
Matthew Robinson was unsuspecting and shocked when he learned that the months of headaches he had been experiencing were likely due to cancer, and not just long work hours.
The 58-year-old triathlete was diagnosed in July 2017 with squamous cell carcinoma, after a PET scan showed a tumor at the base of his tongue.
Even more surprising, Matthew said, was learning that his cancer was probably caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV.
While tobacco and alcohol are two of the most common risk factors of cancers in the back of the throat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says recent studies show that about 60% to 70% of cancers of the oropharynx may be linked to HPV.
Facing cancer again, marie is determined to cross the finish line with her oncology nurse navigator, for a second Time
has her eyes set on Orlando 2020. Her mission – to run the Disney Princess Half
Marathon in full princess costume.
She’s also fighting cancer for the second time around.
“She is the embodiment of courage,” described Marie’s husband, Lou. Self-dubbed Captain of Team Candiotti, Lou has watched his wife face cancer fearlessly since receiving the first diagnosis in 2017.
It was stage 3 ovarian cancer, Marie and Lou were told on Feb. 15, 2017. Marie had been having trouble emptying her bladder, and went to the ER after she couldn’t complete a set of jumping jacks. A lifelong fitness instructor, she otherwise looked and felt healthy. She was working for St. Joe’s ShapeDown program at the time.
MIOCA announced the research grant on May 8, World Ovarian Cancer Day. Since it started giving grants in 2014, MIOCA has awarded over a half-million dollars to researchers in Michigan who are finding new ways to improve the early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer.
St. Joe’s project, titled, “EASE: Education, Alliance, Solace and Empowerment for Ovarian Cancer Patients” was designed by Dr. Liu and her team, and is a comprehensive curriculum to complement the care and management of ovarian cancer patients.
Michael McCarty, this year’s patient speaker at the annual Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event, credits his survival to a single, desperate message he sent from a hospital bed to transfer his cancer care to St. Joe’s.
Over the course of his six-year lung cancer journey, Michael McCarty has been to the brink of death and back. And though he accepts the sober truth that time is limited, he tells people, “it’s never too late.” Michael was diagnosed in September 2012 with non-small cell lung cancer – a type of cancer that occurs mainly in current or former smokers. As Michael would soon learn, it’s also the most common type of lung cancer seen in non-smokers like him.
Breast Cancer Trial Participant Gives Back to St. Joe’s as Patient Adviser
Sandy Lymburner doesn’t like the term “survivor” in reference to her battle with breast cancer, but she accepts it graciously and gratefully. The 57-year-old Ann Arbor resident is four years cancer-free this September, and so far, she’s not only surviving – she is thriving.
She’s quick to credit her success to the team who took care of her at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Cancer Center.
“You feel like your core group of physicians has their arms around you, and are just taking you in, and are helping you all along the way. I’ve never felt that I’ve been a number or statistic,” she said, adding, “I just felt the care here was incredible, and I wanted to be able to share the good things with people within the hospital.”
Weeks after she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in the right breast and lobular cancer in the left, Sandy opted for a double mastectomy in September 2014. She got her chemotherapy port the next month, fully expecting that was the next course of action.
But on the day of Sandy’s first scheduled chemotherapy session, Dr. Philip Stella – medical director of oncology at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, and a long-time friend of Sandy’s – suggested Sandy might be able to bypass chemotherapy altogether.
This article was originally published on Sharecare.
Back in the 1930s, stomach (or gastric) cancer affected more people in the United States than any other type of cancer. Today, stomach cancer is way down the list of the country’s most common cancer diagnoses, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). What’s behind the decline?
Assorted lifestyle changes, says Anthony DeBenedet, MD, a gastroenterologist affiliated with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Currently, there are approximately 26,240 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year in the U.S. and about 10,800 people will die from it. Compared to other cancers, “stomach cancer isn’t common,” says Dr. DeBenedet. Indeed, the ACS reports that the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer has gone down about 1.5 percent each year in the past decade, which is good news.
Prevention is Key
Patients have the best chance of recovering from stomach cancer when it’s caught early. But according to the National Cancer Institute, the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when it still may be treated but is difficult to cure. That’s why it’s important to know what factors can help reduce the risk of a stomach cancer diagnosis in the first place.
Some factors associated with a higher risk of stomach cancer are outside your control, such as family history and genetics, as well as your ethnicity and sometimes where you live in the world. But there are other lifestyle factors that you can influence that are important to understand. Read on to learn more about what you can do to lower your risk.