More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than with cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. And while it’s most common in fair complexions and those with a history of even one bad, blistering burn, it can develop in any skin tone or types, anywhere on the body. The good news is that the disease has a very high cure rate when caught early and removed surgically, frozen with liquid nitrogen, or treated with low-dose radiation.

The music world lost a legend in May 1981 when reggae artist, Bob Marley, died after a four-year battle with a melanoma that started on his toe. A melanoma even a millimeter deep is already deep enough to breach the bloodstream and export cancer to the rest of the body. More often than not, as Marley’s case shows, such an aggressive melanoma is nearly impossible to treat. Yet the five-year survival rate for those that catch melanoma before it spreads is an astonishing 99%. In other words, Bob Marley probably could have survived had he allowed a timely amputation.

Help encourage early detection of skin cancer by reminding your friends and family of the importance in scheduling a skin exam with a dermatologist. Fortunately, most medical insurance plans cover this routine visit. Please be sure to remove all nail polish from fingernails and toenails since skin cancers can form below nails and nail beds.

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