Saturday, April 30, 2016

Melanoma Does Not Discriminate

In this day and age, the term “discrimination” gets discussed more and more.  It seems like not a day goes by where there isn’t some public policy or some celebrity statement that gets labeled as discriminatory.  It’s true that we all have some bit of prejudice within our personalities.  Whether it be an opinion offensive to many or a private irritation with someone who differs from you in some way, we humans all discriminate on some level.  It’s true. 

There are, however a few things in this world that do not discriminate.  The weather.  Aging.  Hunger.  But of course there is one thing in particular I need everyone to understand that does not discriminate.  Melanoma

My Facebook page is approaching 6,000 likes.  I have been followed by people in all 50 states as well as 69 countries…from Algeria to Zimbabwe.  Each one, I assume have been somehow touched by melanoma.  Believe it or not, I have opened the profiles of every person that has followed the “Black is the New Pink – Fight Melanoma” Facebook page.  Every.  Single.  One.  And while not each one allows access to personal information, most share a photo or two that depict not on what is important to each one’s life, but a bit of their personality.  I can assure you that melanoma does not discriminate.

It is true that melanoma is more prevalent in people with lighter toned skin and blonde or red hair.  But there have been many followers of all skin colors all the way to the darkest of dark.  In fact, since it’s harder to detect melanoma on darker skin, the cancer is usually detected at a much higher and deadly level when ultimately found.  It’s true; people of dark skin should wear sunscreen and see the dermatologist as often as someone with pale white skin like myself.

Religion?  No discrimination there as well.  Christian, Muslim, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists…you name it and someone from each religion has been touched by the black cancer.  No matter the name of your god or spiritual guide, you flesh is as susceptible as the person’s next to you.  Protect yourself!  Especially you sun worshipers!

Politics?  Whether you “feel the Bern” or “Trust Ted,” your political beliefs have no effect at rejecting melanoma.  Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists…I’ve had them all stop by my Facebook page.  They’ve all been touched.

Do you preach the moral high ground?  DO you work in the adult film industry?  Are you fighting of an addiction?  Do you work as an executive for a Fortune 500 company?  No matter your social or economic status, you all share in that 1 in 50 chance of getting melanoma, and 1 in 5 chance of being diagnosed with skin cancer.

Do you live along the equator?  South Africa?  Iceland?  Certainly, the more exposure you have to the sun, the greater your risk of melanoma.  However, there are melanoma warriors on every continent at every latitude and longitude on the globe.

No, melanoma does not discriminate.  But it can be resisted.  As stated countless times, protect yourself by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing and gear.  Stay out of the sun at peak times and seek shade.  Wear sunglasses and hats.  And perhaps most importantly, check your skin!  Check it yourself at least once a month and monitor any changes.  Visit your dermatologist at least once a year!  Prevention and detection are the best ways to fight melanoma.  No matter who or what you are.