#publicserviceannouncementFebruary 21, 2011
Today Gawker pointed to a study of 500 people, each with a history of melanoma in his/her family, who said they’d rather be tan than take precautions against getting skin cancer. Gawker said, “A new study shows that even people with a history of skin cancer in their family don’t wear sunscreen and prefer to go tanning. Know what doesn’t give you a healthy glow? Chemotherapy. Just saying.”
The mocking tone is spot on. However. Guess what they don’t do to you when you get melanoma? Give you chemotherapy. Because it only works in 5 percent of cases. Which means treatment options following a melanoma diagnosis are very, very limited.
I know I shouldn’t expect too much out of the New York Daily News, but I can’t help but feel infuriated by the article printed on the study. There are a couple of quotes from people who won’t give up their tan because they want to keep their “shiny glow,” and the only paragraph on actually developing melanoma merely says this: “More than 58,000 Americans developed skin cancer in 2007, according to the most recent statistics available. That year, 8,461 died from the skin tumors, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
That’s it? That’s all we get in this news article meant for the layman regarding melanoma, that which cannot be cured by the standard chemo and radiation? The cancer that struck 70,000 Americans last year and is “almost always fatal” within a year once it metastasizes?
Even Gawker’s biting line, the zinger that’s meant to make fun of the people who risk their lives to be a shade darker than natural, lacks that accuracy. And that shows how little the public knows about this type of cancer, three years after Clark’s initial diagnosis, after I have seen things that I am just now remembering because they were so traumatic, and that makes me feel unacknowledged.