PoetrySkin Cancer

May Is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

A poem by Tonya Marie Pan, MA, MS.
June 2016 Vol 2 No 3
Tonya Marie Pan, MA, MS
Graduate Student, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology San Diego State University/University of California

I’m guilty. I’ve thought it: “It’s only skin cancer.”
I’m guilty. I’ve thought it: “That’s one of the easy cancers.”
I’m guilty. I’ve thought it: “You didn’t lose your hair or go through chemo; you’re not a real cancer survivor.”

Tell that to the man who just walked into my office with the scars on his head and a broken back from removing the metastases of his “easy cancer.”

Tell that to the man who has yet to experience middle age and likely won’t see his kids graduate from college.
Tell that to the man with hints of orbitofrontal syndrome and enough awareness to know that he’s losing himself.
Tell that to the man who thinks his recurrence is his fault.
Tell that to the man, because I can’t.


Many thanks to Bradley M. Weisz, MA, for his enduring support and helpful edits.

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Last modified: January 5, 2021

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