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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just For Men (And The Women Who Put Up With Us)

No, I’m not selling that cheesy remedy for hiding my gray hair, of which I’m quite proud. Instead, I’m going to use this bully bloggin’ pulpit to preach to my “peeps” about melanoma.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, men over age 40 have the highest annual exposure to UV radiation and 1 in 41 men will be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime. Yikes. My tiny little primary melanoma tumor was discovered by my alert primary care physician in the course of a routine physical examination I had at age 50. That little checkup set me on the diagnosis and treatment path that just might have saved my life.

There are a whole host of good reasons why we middle-aged guys ought to see a primary care doc once a year, and 1-in-41 lifetime odds of getting melanoma is just one of them. Trust me, you really don’t want to do anything like biochemotherapy treatments. (Although my hair grew back thicker and darker after treatment, which really pissed off a couple of my balding buddies.) So, please don’t avoid that annual physical just because you know your doc is going to want to do the dreaded prostate exam.

Sermon ended, now a little rock music, John Mellencamp’s “Small Town”…

Well it was born in a small spot
And it spread from a small spot
Almost died from a small spot
Oh, those small - impunities

All my ‘friends’ had a small spot
My father’s doc found a same small spot
My job was that small spot
Provides many opportunities, hey!

Educated ‘bout a small spot
Taught to fear cancer in a small spot
Used to go scream ‘bout that small spot
Another patient frantic that's me

But I've seen it all from a small spot
Had myself a ball from a small spot
Harried some Denver docs and brought them to this small spot
Now that small spot’s gone from me

No I cannot forget from where it is that it came from
I cannot forget the doctors who saved me
Yeah, I can be myself without that small spot
And doctors let me be just what I want to be

Got something against a big spot
Still hayseed enough to pray
Look out for the big spot
But my dread was in a small spot
Oh, that's bad enough for me

Well it was born in a small spot
And I’ve been freed from a small spot
Almost died from a small spot
Ah, that's prob'ly what will bury me

Please share this post with all the guys you love (or at least like) who don’t (yet) have melanoma.


  1. Digging a little deeper (pun intended), that prostate exam is important as well. I had a lump detected about 6 years ago. It turned out to be nothing (determined after two painful biopsies)...but if nothing else, it made me more aware of the Big C and less stubborn to see my doc annually and even more frequently.

  2. Al, a fine and sharp point indeed (pun intended). I hope the post also reminds us older boys that we also need to consent to that dreaded prostate exam! Glad your alarm turned out to be a false one.