Friday, May 1, 2020

Melanoma Awareness Month in 2020

I am writing this on May 1, 2020.  Today is the first day of Melanoma and Skin Cancer awareness month.  May is typically a month where you’ll see news stories on skin cancer awareness and sun safety.  You’ll often see a charity run or walk occurring on the weekend.  It’s a good chance such an event is held to raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation, AIM for a Cure, or some other melanoma organization. 

However, this year, the medical news is dominated by COVID-19…the pandemic sweeping the world.

There will be no gatherings for a walk.

There will be no gala.  In May, we are slowly trying to reopen the world, but it’ll be a slow and cautious process.  People are not so concerned about skin cancer.

Usually, I would point out that people die of melanoma at a rate of greater than one person an hour. That’s over 9,000 people who will be lost this year.  However, the virus has claimed nearly 63,000 U.S. citizens at the time of this writing within the last 3 or 4 months. 

These deaths do not reduce the significance of the melanoma fatalities by any means. Still, it’s easy for the general population to miss during these times.  I hope that all other deaths outside of the virus will not be forgotten.  The families affected by a death from melanoma, any cancer, heart disease, or any other fatal illness grieve as much as anyone.  This year it might be even harder because the families are not allowed to visit the sick in the hospital.  COVID-19 is killing not only those it affects directly but kills the opportunity to pass on with family near them in the hospital.  Afraid and alone.
2020 is not a typical year.

Please keep all who suffer in your thoughts this year.  Keep those who are trying to keep our sick comforted in your thoughts.  Keep in your thoughts those families who can’t say goodbye, or can’t attend the funeral.

It’s still Melanoma Awareness month, and I plan to post a few more thoughts and reminders.  I encourage you…beg you…to wear sunscreen. I still encourage you to visit your dermatologist on at least an annual basis.  And while you can’t walk or run in a charity event, you can still donate money to the melanoma organization of your choice.

Be safe out there.  And be sun-safe as well.

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