When I discovered the the fact that men had significantly higher cases of melanoma than women, curiosity got the best of me. You see, I’m intimately familiar with skin cancer … and men.
After my parent’s divorce when I was 16, my father contracted a fast-spreading skin cancer that put the entire family on alert. Of course, I dropped out of private school to nurse him. As I continued classes at the local public high, I noticed among other things, life with my father was now different. He needed ME this time, although I was quite young, I had already been educated a bit in nutrition, cooking and exercise. I lived the lifestyle without a second thought, while ‘passing it on’ my father (by osmosis evidently). I was grateful with the knowledge-base I had to share. He was 40 at this time and hadn’t considered adopting a new lifestyle, but this woke him up – the “C” word wakes everyone up. It haunts me that my mind races back to those days as I look at my husband’s ‘sun spots’ on his arms. I push myself to remember one word – hope.
As long as a clear diagnosis is made, cultivating appropriate self-awareness, sleep and sound support are key so far as I can see. Although I highly recommend prevention (i.e., sunscreen and UV rated clothing, hats, sunglasses, even gloves) as part of an integrated functional medical approach.
By the time my father went into surgery, however, it had already spread to his tongue and bottom lip. In his case, plastic surgery gave his self-esteem back AND he was one of he lucky ones – it never came back. Did the surgery ‘cure’ him – was it certain methods of a Lifestyle Change that helped him or was it merely the unconditional love I expressed in gratitude to him? Coincidence, perhaps. Holistic Healing is a combination, I believe, of these things since without a balance in our Wheel of Life, we wobble far too much keeping us off-balance.
He made me promise to keep up my healthy balanced lifestyle “if I loved him”. Don’t get me wrong, I was no way near perfect (nor will I ever – but I’m not as driven to distraction (OCD has an odd way of doing that. Coping with that came a few years later.). Either way, I wasn’t immune to guilt trips (yet), but this was one I would lovingly carry with me for the rest of my life. Since he did his part – eating healthier, running, stopped smoking, …, it is the least I can do for him. He showed me that it’s never too late to make a difference…or too early.
Wheel of Life
If you’re interested in pursuing your own research, please check out
this fairly quick and highly informative article for more information about men and skin cancer.
Men’s Health article on skin cancer research