May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately some of us are more aware than others. I am acutely aware of Squamous Cell Cancer, it stole a third of my bottom lip last year. Sadly I have plenty of company. Over 5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Of those, more than 400,000 cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.
I was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. In the depths of Canadian winters we measured snow in feet and rarely saw temperatures above freezing. The folks who were lucky to travel to warm destinations came back to the Great White North with dark tans and smiles. I wanted that tan. I wanted to smile and show off the teeth my parents dental plan had paid for. No passport necessary. No planes or hotels. Instead, a quick 20 minute nap…in a tanning bed. Unlimited tanning for just $29.99/month. It was as cheap as a pair of rubber boots. Seemed like a great idea. Get a tan, take a nap and look healthy. Looking back; it is likely my complete lack of sun safety and those 2 tanning bed naps every week that set into motion the events of the past 8 months. I remember my dermatology appointment. I remember looking at my shoes because I could not look up. That was the moment. It is etched into my memory. I will never forget it. That was the moment I joined 5 million people who are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S.
I always try to remember that many people are burdened by so much more than me. I am happy that so many have reached out to me. Some want Skin Cancer advice, others want to talk, while some want to listen and even to laugh. It is what we do. I say “we” because 8 months ago I started my journey. 8 months ago I joined this community. 8 months ago I joined this fight and I ain’t quittin.
Most of us have Skin Cancer from sun exposure and UV rays. The sun, the glorious sun. It is lovely, and it is dangerous. Could it be as simple as wearing sunblock, proper hats and sun safe clothing? Yes, it is that simple. It is THAT simple and yet Skin Cancer numbers continue to grow.
Click on the “let’s get gross” banner and read survivor stories, including mine. Click on surgery pictures, including mine. Be warned; These are graphic pictures, they are not suitable for children.
Those pictures are the truth. Skin Cancer is gross. Skin Cancer sucks. Skin Cancer kills.
Thanks for stopping by,