It’s been nearly a year since I wrote a blog for Coolibar’s “This is Brave” campaign. A lot has happened in the last year. In that years’ time, an estimated 9,500 people were diagnosed every day with skin cancer. An estimated 9,300 people died from melanoma. And skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the United States. These are sobering statistics.
Over the last year, I’ve continued to not only be a patient but also a skin cancer awareness advocate. I’ve had additional areas of skin cancer (squamous cell and basal cell) that needed treatment. I know what it’s like to have the anxiety of wondering whether a suspicious area is skin cancer, and I know the feeling of wishing skin cancer would just go away. Unfortunately, for me, it won’t.
I also know the feeling that skin cancer can be a lonely cancer. That’s why I will continue to share my story, and I will continue to talk with and encourage others who are battling skin cancer or who are supporting loved ones in their battle. I continue to write articles for a skin cancer site, and I also moderate for them. In doing this, I’ve learned that far too many people don’t give much thought to skin cancer until it affects them or someone they love. We need to change this – especially given that many skin cancers can be prevented.
There’s so much work to be done. I want to do more. Indoor tanning continues to remain a big business in the United States. Insurance companies don’t yet cover an annual skin exam as preventative care. Too many people continue to not realize the consequences of tanning beds and over-exposure to the sun. I did a lot of damage to my skin when I was younger, as did many people. My hope is that the more awareness we can raise, other people won’t make the same mistakes I did. Now we know better, and now we can do better.
To see Judy’s story with us from last year, visit HERE.