I recently discovered this (above post title), and found it very odd that the two cancers that have drastically changed my family share this month in the cancer awareness cycle. So, to bring awareness to these I thought I would share my perspective on how these diseases affected me and my family forever. While brain tumors aren't necessarily preventable, skin cancer is most definitely preventable. There are a plethora of misconceptions about skin cancer that hopefully I can shed some light on when sharing my story. The biggest one being is that "it's no big deal." However, melanoma is a BIG DEAL. Melanoma is deadly.
This may take a while...
It has been eight years since my family buried my father and my brother-in-law. They each fought and lost their battles to cancer and died five months apart.
I suppose the best place to start is April 2003. Unfortunately at 20 years old, and the youngest in the family I do not know too many details of the beginning of my father's diagnosis. I was a college student, I was a self-absorbed spoiled brat, and my parents and sisters treated me like a child - continuing to enable my bratty behavior. What I do know is that my father wore hard contact lenses, and took very good care of his lenses. Such good care that he could go a few years between ophthalmologist appointments. What he did not know, and what most people do not know, is that melanoma can begin in the eye. When an ophthalmologist dilates your eyes and shines that bright light, one of the things he is looking for is ocular melanoma. My father spent a lot of time outdoors. He served as a naval officer in Vietnam - long before UV tinted sunglasses that wrap around the periphery of your eye and good old SPF 50. He had fair skin, light blue eyes, sunburned easily. The perfect combination for melanoma.