Dear Decaturish – Arrr, about me scar

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 13, 2014
A melanoma. Source: Wikimedia commons

A melanoma. Source: Wikimedia commons

Editor’s note: accepts letters to the editor. The following letter was originally a Facebook post, but it was so well written – and had such a great message – we asked the author for permission to re-post it here. If you’d like to send a letter to the editor, email it to 

Friends and Family,

If you know Katie and Jake, you know that they both love pirates!

Something about the wild life of being on the high seas and finding gold doubloons resonates with both of them. It is something that on the surface seems to be fun and a touch romantic an – if you have caught an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates – always ends with the crew getting lots of doubloons and doing something good at the same time.

The next time most of you see me, you will no doubt notice that I now have an honest to goodness pirate scar on my face. It unfortunately was not the result of a fierce saber battle while boarding a plunder ship. It was due to a very small melanoma that formed on my left cheek on sun damaged skin.

This melanoma was a completely different type and unrelated to the melanoma that I had two years ago on my right leg but it does have a few similarities.

1) It was discovered and removed very early.
2) It was very small.
3) My prognosis from the cancer is a full recovery.

I encourage everyone to see a dermatologist for a quick check to make sure there is nothing to the trained eye that is questionable. Early detection and removal is one of the keys to successfully surviving skin cancer.

If you do not do it already, make a new habit of applying sunscreen before you go out on a daily basis, especially if you don’t want a pirate scar like mine.

– Mark Sanders, Decatur

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • I’d like to add information on how to identify suspicious moles to this post. I lost my father to melanoma and given that and my Scottish heritage I know the following tool by heart. I have discovered that many have never heard of it.

    When looking at the moles and spots on your skin remember the acronym ABCDE:
    – Asymmetry – in color, shape and/or level
    – Border – that is shaped irregularity
    – Color – changes within the mole or over time
    – Diameter – larger than a pencil eraser
    – Evolving – changes in any of the above

    My father’s cancer did not show any of the warning signs except the last. His melanoma was flesh colored at first but it evolved from a flat spot to a raised one on top of his head. By the time it was discovered it was too late. So, yes, wear sunscreen with regularity, see your dermatologist AND check your own skin monthly.

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