LA Times Reports "My Melanoma, My Message" Tanning Kills

August 5, 2013

My melanoma, my message

The Los Angeles Times
By Travis Kidner
August 5, 2013

"As a surgical oncologist, I'm usually the one delivering the bad news. But this time I was the recipient.

Nine days earlier, my dermatologist had taken a biopsy from a small pink dot on my back, and now the results were available. It was, he told me, malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

I envisioned the irony of my obituary: "Melanoma surgeon dies of melanoma."

Specializing in the care of melanoma patients makes me all too aware of the facts. I know that melanoma is one of only a few cancers whose incidence is increasing. The chance of developing it during a lifetime is 1 in 50. And while melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, it causes 75% of skin cancer deaths. This year alone there will be more than 76,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the United States, causing 9,000 deaths.

But in the moment of receiving bad news, statistics became meaningless. At age 36, with two young children, I had a potentially deadly cancer, and all I could think was, "Why me?" Read More."