I admit that my default in all things is “first, you laugh.” It’s a lot easier to laugh than to scream. Plus, it hurts less.

So it will come as no surprise to you that I’m a big fan of Showtime’s The Big C.

I bring this up because the cancer that Cathy Jamison is battling is one that gets very little attention in this very pink world: melanoma.

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in the US, behind prostate (#1), breast (#2), lung (#3 and rising), and colon/rectal (#4) cancers.

When was the last time you heard of an awareness campaign for melanoma? Or saw someone wearing the black melanoma awareness ribbon?

BTW, how telling is it that the melanoma ribbon is black? Too often, melanoma goes unnoticed until it’s reached an advanced stage – like Cathy Jamison’s Stage IV diagnosis. At any stage, the treatment can be pretty draconian: wide-excision surgery and radiation at the least, with chemo and/or interferon added at more advanced stages.

If you’ve got skin, you’re at risk for melanoma. If you’ve got white¬†skin, your risk is higher. Every time you put on a bathing suit, ask a family member or friend to take a look at the parts of your skin you can’t see easily. Follow the A/B/C/D/E guidelines¬†(click the link to see the list), and if you see anything suspicious, make an appointment to see your family doctor.

Laugh. Learn. LIVE.

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The Big C: Laugh. Learn. LIVE.
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