Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen

This is a song by Baz Luhrman, although song is probably not the right word. It’s maybe closest to rap, in the sense that it’s words set to music. But then again, you know – it’s not. It is a graduation “speech”, written by Mary Schmich for the Chicago Tribune, set to vague nineties background music. The song as a song is not brilliant, but the text is really good, and you should read it. At least once.

However, why I really posted this video, is because of the first thing it tells us. To wear sunscreen. Not just because your skin will look old and wrinkly by the time you’re forty if you don’t, but because skin cancer is a very real, very awful thing, that most of us don’t think about ever, until we’re confronted with it – if then.

How many of us have heard, or know, someone who has had a “bad” spot on their skin removed? I know I do. Do I stop to think about that daily? No. Do I think about that when I can’t be bothered to put on more sun screen, or put it everywhere, even the difficult to reach spots? No. (Although to be fair, I am pretty obsessive about sunscreen – which is why I’m telling you this now). Do you? Probably not.

Then today, I came across Jimmy Niggles, (and his beard) – actually, I saw a photo of him somewhere before a while back, but I don’t remember and didn’t investigate further then, silly me, so… yes… anyway – who looks fantastic.

Case in point, ©ourtesy of Mr. Elbank, who is worth your time.

I was intrigued enough that I read his story, (or really, the story of his beard), which is how I found my way to thisisbeard.com, which is where I found the following video,

which reminded me of this video,

all of which made me sad, but at least then I knew what I would write about today. Hence this long-ass post.

As someone who definitely has over 50 moles, (thanks dad!), it’s creepy to think that it takes so little for one of those to grow into a rogue killer-cell, spawning little baby killer-cells like a bunny, bursting into my blood vessels or lymphatic system, forming horrible little motor-esque gangs in random places in my body, before finally effectively shutting down this blog forever. The sad thing is that all the euphemisms in the world don’t change a thing about the fact that skin cancer (melanoma is just one form, the most dangerous one) is deadly.

The incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has been increasing over the past decades. Currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer and, according to Skin Cancer Foundation Statistics, one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. (Source: World Health Organisation)

I’m not American, and neither is the majority of the world, (I know, you wouldn’t say it), so to put that into perspective: There’s currently about 315 million Americans. (Wow). 1 in 5 of those leaves us 63 million. That’s quite a lot of people. As in, still nearly four times as many as everyone in the Netherlands. Wow.

So: Wear sunscreen. Do not go into the sun between 12 and 2 (or, if you really want to be safe, between 10.00 and 16.00). Check your skin if you’re at risk, or if you aren’t. If you feel something’s weird on your skin, or see something different, go to your doctor. Because even if 3 million people is not that many, (particularly keeping in mind that not all of these people die), each of those people is still a son, a mother, a friend, a mentor, or the love of someone’s life.

Cause boy, does it suck when you’re left wondering, what if?

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