The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.

Tutu Brothers

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Born In My DNA

At a recent Melanoma Research Foundation patient education symposium in Denver, my doc started his presentation with “Melanoma 101”. Melanoma is uncontrolled cell growth and division of the melanocytes (pigment cells) caused by DNA damage in those cells. UV light ray exposure is a cause of that mutation and damage in melanocyte DNA. And during the embryonic stage of our early development in the womb, our melanocytes develop from neural (nerve) cells— and to my layperson’s mind that’s one more reason it’s somewhat misleading to call melanoma “skin cancer”.

I got my melanocyte DNA damage the old-fashioned way, outdoors in the sunshine, and have never set foot in a tanning bed. But if you use those things, please cut it out before they cut IT out. There is a solid consensus among dermatologists and oncologists specializing in melanoma treatment that the intense UV ray exposure one receives from tanning beds substantially increases one’s risk of contracting melanoma (and basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers). So don’t listen to the quacks who will tell you there’s such a thing as a “safe” tan, because it just ain't so.

I’ll end today’s homily with the Hotel Melanoma rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.”…

Burned brown in a Kansas town
The worst kick I took was when that mole was found
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
And you spend rest of life just doctering up
Born in the DNA
It was born in the DNA
It was born in the DNA
Born in the DNA

Got in a little mole bound jam so they hung no trifles on my stand
Sent me off to the Code Blue land and nearly killed this mela-man
Born in the DNA
It was born in the DNA
It was born in the DNA
It was born in the DNA
Born in the DNA

Came back home to my canine comp’ny
Jordan man says "son your time belongs to me”
Went down to see my mela man
He said "son don't you never tan now"

I am a blogger of rock songs fighting off the C bed wrong
I’m still here C’s all gone
I’ve ‘met’ a Tan Mom whose tone is so wrong
I want no picture of her in a thong now

Brown is the bad foe of the penitent tan-free
Outside I’m hidin’ from the sunshine UV
I'm nine years walking down C road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go

Born in my DNA
It was born in my DNA.
Born in my DNA.
It’s-a all gone badly in my DNA.