Friday, February 20th, 2015
The news that Dr Oliver Sacks has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer as a consequence of the melanoma removed from his eye nine years ago is a little disconcerting. He’s one of the unlucky. The very unlucky. But it’s easy to forget that percentages hide a real number. The real number of unlucky in metastasised melanoma cancers is big enough to be scary.
I had a malignant “in situ” melanoma removed five years ago last month. The doctor cut it out the moment I presented at the clinic. No big drama. The melanoma was shallow at .7mm, so there is every chance that I’ll be fine. Due to the public health system it was months, rather than days or weeks, before surgeons at the Royal Hobart Hospital removed the surrounding 5cm radius circle of flesh from my inner thigh; but, otherwise, all went well. Some arterial spray on the surgery roof and the possibly dangerous tissue was removed.