Friday, April 13, 2007

Making a Difference, One Boss At-A-Time

It must be said that my boss, at my so-called "real job", rocks! He rocks. I really like my boss - he is an honorable, respectable, intelligent, fair, kind, insightful, perceptive, pleasant person to work for and be around. He is, bar none, the best boss on the planet. And now he's the best boss on the planet armed with the best sunscreen on the planet - Blue Lizard Australian Suncream.

On Monday, Mr. Boss Man and I were talking about the book, and subsequently about skin cancer. He told me that his sister has been diagnosed with melanoma, and thus began a long conversation about melanoma skin cancer, dermatologists, sun safety, sunscreens, protection (ideas on how he can get his four-year-old son to be SunSavvy), and other related topics. "So, how can I get some of that Blue Lizard sunscreen you're always talking about," he asked. I jokingly replied: "Well, I do have a gallon jug of it in the Product room. I bought it for the team so that everyone can use it. It's the community sunscreen dispenser!"

Today, just as the Boss Man was headed out the door to begin his weekend, he came by to tell me that he's going up to Huntsman Cancer Institute to get his full body skin exam. "They're having a free skin cancer screening next month, and so I thought that would be the perfect time to get checked out for skin cancer," he said. "Is that a good idea to go to a free skin cancer screening, or should I just get a dermatologist right away?" I told him that the free skin cancer screenings held at the HCI every year are excellent; they are conducted by professional dermatologists, among of which include Dr. Sancy A. Leachman, deputy director of the Tom C. Mathews Jr. Familial Melanoma Research Clinic at HCI. "With melanoma being in your family, she would be an excellent person to talk to, Jeff."

The look on his face looked akin to a little kid who had just been told by his mother that they did a fine job on mowing the lawn. It was almost as if he was thinking "Good! Danielle thinks I'm doing a good thing. I'm going to get screened for skin cancer, and it's a good thing!" He asked me what a full body skin exam entailed and I told him that "they will give you a thorough exam." A sudden look of fright masked his once smiling face. "Thorough, as in thorough?" "Yep! They will look at every inch of you; between your toes, inside your ears, and every other inch of your body. But it's no big deal. Just bite the bullet. I was scared at first, too, but you can do it. You'll be glad you did. And when it's all over, you'll realize that it was easier than you thought it would be, and you'll feel good that you went ahead and got it done." The boss then asked me, "So, you were at the dermatologist last Friday, right? And they took off some potentially cancerous moles off your back, didn't they? So, if they find something suspicious are they going to cut it off right then and there?" I reassured him that if the dermatologists did in fact find a "spot of concern" that they would talk to him about it, and more than likely schedule a follow up visit, unless it was absolutely necessary that it come off "right there and then, because it was melanoma." "Take a look at your skin, Jeff, tonight. And talk to your sister. I'm sure that she can help you determine whether or not you have a spot that is of grave concern and requires immediate attention." Then we joked about how "it ain't right for a married man to ask his sister to help with skin exams." "Yes, yes, I know, but you know what I mean Jeff. Get your wife to help out, too!"

At any rate, the point of this story is that skin cancer prevention education does make a difference. Setting the example for others to follow, does make a difference. And the book, which my boss has already read, is already fulfilling its purpose by assisting others in making informed decisions about their dermatologic health. In all honesty, the fact that my boss's sister has had more than 129 moles removed likely has been the clenching reason behind his decision to go and get his skin examined. Nevertheless, it is reassuring to know that my boss can come to me and talk about his concerns, ask me questions, seek advice, share his thoughts, and respects my opinions about dermatologists, sunscreen (Blue Lizard), and general skin cancer prevention/sun safety. Moreover, it is reassuring to know that he is being proactive about taking care of himself. (I'm sure it's reassuring to his wife and kid, too!)

I challenge each of you to encourage your boss, and fellow co-workers, to become more SunSavvy. What are you going to do to encourage them get a full body skin cancer screening? What ideas do you have for the rest of us that have worked for you, as you have encouraged friends, family, and neighbors to take skin cancer prevention to heart? How can we better reach and teach people about this important issue?

Keep Crusading,

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