Happy May Day. I always associate May day with a maypole and dancers. I also associate May with flowers and all the shots in this post are recent ones from my garden. May Day is also International Workers' Day and Mayday is a distress signal. There are many more events associated with May Day. The entire month of May is a national (U.S.) Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness month. One reason some campaigns say skin cancer and melanoma is because some forms of melanoma do not originate on the skin. I'll discuss that more in upcoming posts. The first Monday in May is Melanoma Monday and the origin of that was to have free skin cancer screenings. Many universities, as well as other centers offer free screenings on Melanoma Monday. There are also similar campaigns in countries besides the U.S.I recently followed a link that someone on the MPIP left about how lip gloss can invite skin cancer. I had no idea of that so I thought I'd mention it on this first day of skin cancer awareness month.
“These lip glosses can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off of the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Christine Brown, a dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. (You're covered, however, if you wear lip gloss with SPF.)
Since most of the links and information I usually post are about melanoma, the cancer I have had, I thought I'd mention that Skin Cancer Net has a lot of information about all of the skin cancers. There are many other sites which are useful but I picked one for brevity sake.
I started thinking about how so many skin cancer campaigns feature blond, blue eyed, light skinned people. It is certainly true that those are the characteristics of people who are often at a higher risk for skin cancer. The problem is too often people who have darker skin tone, eyes, and hair, think they are in the clear which isn't true. I am caucasian but I thought I was at a low risk for skin cancer because I tend to tan not burn and don't have a particularly light skin tone. Below is a shot of me around 1988 and as you can see I'm not blond and my skin isn't porcelain toned but I did end up with melanoma.I didn't know until I had melanoma that an artist whose music I admired died from melanoma, Bob Marley. He had Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM). Only 5 percent of all diagnosed melanomas are ALM but 50 % of melanoma which is diagnosed in Asian and people with dark skin is ALM. Of course that means that 50 percent of the people with dark skin have other forms of melanoma. I mention that because there is sometimes a misconception that the only form of melanoma or skin cancer for that matter which non caucasian people are at risk for is ALM which isn't true. For the start of Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness Month, I thought I'd give you the music and face of Bob Marley below.
Bob Marley's melanoma began in an old soccer injury on his big toe. Part of what makes ALM so deadly is that it's often diagnosed later than other melanomas and skin cancers. I've read that if it's diagnosed when it's at the same depth as other melanomas, the prognosis is similar but too often it's diagnosed later. I'll be mentioning some of the other manifestations of skin cancer and melanoma which often have delayed diagnosis in posts here and there throughout the month.