How to explain that skin cancer is serious?

A lot of people don’t understand how difficult skin cancer can be. How do you explain it to people who don’t get it?

Community Answers

  1. smerri says:

    Nothing hurts me more than when people tell me I am lucky I only have skin cancer or better yet it is only Basal Cell Carcinoma that’s harmless.

    Really cancer is cancer! Nobody should have to deal with cancer cells growing in their body. I have found that people who have never had cancer just do not understand at all.

    Most times i feel very alone and angery questioning my own concerns. I think am I over reacting, stressing and worring too much? But I also realize it is not me and I am not alone. I find comfort reading other people’s stories, on this site, I dont feel so alone. I realize we share similar feeling. I also dont mind sharing my story or feelings if maybe it can help another.

    As far as I am concerned we are all in this together. We all need each others help and support. We are surviving the best we can!

  2. April Pulliam moderator says:

    You are exactly right! We are so glad you have found our community. You can always turn to us for support. No one understands like others who have and are experiencing the same things. Cancer is cancer is cancer. Keep your chin up! April, SkinCancer.net, Moderator

  3. Nikkinator says:

    I became an accidental “smack with the awareness stick” for many people in my community. I was working in country radio as a morning show co-host, when I had a seizure while on air. My listeners followed my “just skin cancer” melanoma story through immunotherapy treatments, LOTS of gamma knife radiation, 2 craniotomies, and the removal of a lung lobe. We even did a fun run fundraiser on the beach, which the local news channel carried. We called “Run From The Sun”. Oddly enough, I myself would refer to it as “just skin cancer” for the 5 or so years between having a stage 1a removed from my shoulder until the stage IV “oh crap it’s in my brain” unexpected seizure. Karma made a fabulous learning tool out of me, for so many people here on the central coast of California. Yikes. 🙂

  4. Scott Matheny moderator says:

    Skin cancer is very serious. Melanoma kills. It is serious stuff. It’s treatment can be very obvious as skin is so visible and evident. Your life struggles are literally on display for everyone to see and evaluate. It can affect not just your physical health, but your emotional well being, too.

  5. BHPen99 says:

    I was insulted and had to school an insurance agent on Melanoma after he made the comment, well at least you didn’t have “real” cancer, Melanoma is not a dangerous cancer, he said. This was after he turned me down for a cancer policy, said it wouldn’t pay anything for 5 more years. I was furious at his comments, set him straight and reported him to my Human Resource office. They are the ones who chooses this supplemental company and invited them in for sales. This just happened yesterday and I’m still reeling from it. I showed him my 4 inch long wide excision scar on my arm and told him I have other friends with horror stories who can prove him wrong. Some are no longer alive. 🙁

  6. NinaHU moderator author says:

    It is infuriating what you’ve been through, @BHPen99. This story really brings home the fact that skin cancer patients face serious obstacles. I hope your fight for recognition will create change. Even if not, I am in awe of your strength and determination to stand up for yourself. Scars and stories are powerful tools for proving the impact of skin cancer. So glad you set the record straight and appealed to the top. I imagine it has to change at the top level and I hope someday it will! – Nina, SkinCancer.net Team

  7. BHPen99 says:

    Thanks so much, NinaHU.

  8. smerri says:

    I recently posted my story with photos not for sympathy but to show how important skin cancer awareness is needed!

  9. NinaHU moderator author says:

    Yes @smerri, photos tell a powerful story about skin cancer and its seriousness. So glad you are using your voice to spread awareness!! – Nina, SkinCancer.net Team

  10. April Pulliam moderator says:

    Many people associate the seriousness of cancer with the words “chemotherapy” and “radiation.” When those words aren’t used, some tend to believe that the removal of a mole or two means a patient is cured. I have heard the phrase “just skin cancer” more times than I care to think about. I have found that friends and family look at skin cancer in a whole new light when they realize that we, too, use chemotherapy. Ours may be applied in a cream, but it is chemotherapy by the same right. Many co-workers have been amazed to find that Efudex is a chemo cream, and they have been stunned at its side effects. I have been known to tell people that cancer is cancer–the form doesn’t matter.

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