Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A White Person's Disease?

I used to be totally against Facebook. I thought it was annoying, way too public, and basically a waste of time. Then I became an extremely busy young lady & lost contact with anyone who was not on Facebook. Now, I use the nifty social network for another important matter: Melanoma awareness. Some people may get annoyed by the links I post leading them to other melanoma articles. Then again, maybe they would not come across the information if it had not shown up in their newsfeed.

Case in point: Today I posted a link to an article on CNN.Com regarding melanoma in people with darker skin colors. Not an hour after posting the link, a young mother, who I actually do not know personally, commented, "Wow, I have always heard dark skinned people weren't at risk. My kids are mixed, so I never worried with it. Thanks!" See--That one article that some may find annoying is something that will possibly save those children from experiencing the craziness that is melanoma. 

The article is written by a dermatologist in Miami. She discusses how minorities are less likely to go to a dermatologist which is why early skin cancer detection is not likely. She writes, "Because of this, those with darker complexion have a greater risk of dying from skin cancer than their light-skinned counterparts. I cannot stress this enough. Skin cancer is not just a white person's disease."

Remember Bob Marley? Yeah, he died of metastatic melanoma. He wasn't exactly white. His melanoma was found after an injury to his toe. The dermatologist writes, "New or unusual moles on the hands and feet are especially concerning in people with skin of color and should be checked by a dermatologist." Do what she says...Don't let it advance like Mr. Marley did!

Read article here.

My Mom alerted me to some of the comments that people were leaving on the article. Having been an author to this blog since January, I have realized that people leave nasty comments just to leave nasty comments. Still, some of these irked me:

"Its in the opinion section cause this is bull crap not fact! I'm black and NEVER heard of anyone personally getting skin cancer, our skin is created for the sun."
"I think this is a misinformed article, I realize the doctor wishes to have her a blog, but uh, where are the stats concerning skin cancer for blacks.  I feel this doctor is trying to cause unnecessary alarm, give us the facts doctor."

"She's pretty quick to point out the dangers of moles, but what about surgery?
Every year, people die because some quack infected them with non-sterile instruments.
At least skin cancer would kill me slowly, slow enough that I could
say goodbye to my family, get my affairs in order, and smoke a giant doobie. Or several."

"Yeah right.  You don't die from skin cancer.  You die when it spreads to other organs in your body.  It would be a rather unpleasant experience to say the least."

OK---What did I learn after reading these comments? 

1) Skin Cancer Education Is Desperately Needed! You don't die from skin cancer? Really? You think the cancer just suddenly shows up in your brain, liver, and lungs? It begins somewhere. Hopefully you are lucky enough to realize it before it has spread to your organs.

2) It is obvious who has never known anyone personally who has had a melanoma scare or died from it. Skin cancer allowing you a slow death? Advanced melanoma does not waste much time killing you. I guarantee that when the time comes, you will still wish for more time.

3) Some people will argue just to argue.

and 4) Maybe I shouldn't read the comments section.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this article because I do think it is important for people to realize that melanoma isn't racist. Sure, it is more popular in red headed, blue eyed, fair skinned folks, but not all of us melanoma warriors fit that description. Just because it has not happened to you or someone you know does not mean you should ignore the possibility.

Isn't it better to be safe rather than sorry?


hokie8604 said...

I just wanted to point out that as a Physician Assistant student, it has been talking about SEVERAL times about how people of color DO get skin cancer. AND that it is usually found at a later stage.

the skin is the largest organ of the body, keeps you hydrated, and it keeps out the "nasty infections that us quacks give to people" (I'm just gonna leave that one alone!)

EVERYONE should take amazing care of their skin!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Chelsea for posting and educating even when people can be so thick.

Unknown said...

I've been using FB to promote education and awareness after I received my melanoma diagnosis, too. Great job, Chelsea and keep it up! Those negative comments are only evidence that our efforts are desperately needed :)

Rajesh said...

Now you can talk with doctor very easily .

For info visit :www.dialurdoctor.com

Anonymous said...

Bob Marley's father was white... it was an unfortunately genetic in his case.