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How We Lost Jimmy Buffett | Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC)

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is a favorite and well-recognized song performed by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett.

As dermatologists – we always feel and like to recommend that “It’s time for a skin check somewhere”

Skin cancer is a serious concern that affects people from all walks of life.  Most recently we lost legendary musician Jimmy Buffett, best known for his hit single “Margaritaville,” Jimmy Buffett to Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC).

His lengthy health battle with skin cancer highlights the importance of understanding and addressing skin health.

MCC is one of the lesser-known but highly aggressive forms of skin cancer. Imagine it as a sneaky invader that starts within the nerve cells of your skin. Although rare, MCC can be deadly if ignored, just like any foe that goes unnoticed.

MCC often appears as a painless, firm, and fast-growing lump on the skin, typically in sun-exposed areas. It’s essential to remember that early detection is the key to successful treatment. That’s why regular skin checks with a dermatologist are absolutely crucial. Think of it as finding a hidden enemy before it becomes too strong to defeat.

So, what can you do to protect your skin and potentially save your life? Here are a few simple steps:

  1. **Regular Skin Checks**: Schedule routine visits with a dermatologist. They have the expertise to spot potential issues long before they become serious.
  2. **Sun Protection**: Be sun smart! Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during peak sun hours. Sun exposure is a significant factor in skin cancer risk.
  3. **Self-Examinations**: Don’t wait for your annual checkup. Get to know your skin, and if you notice any changes, such as new moles or unusual growths, consult a dermatologist promptly.
  4. **Stay Informed**: Understand the different types of skin cancer and their risk factors. Knowledge is a powerful weapon against this disease.

Remember, your skin deserves the best care, just like any other part of your body. By taking these steps and encouraging others to do the same, we can work together to reduce the impact of skin cancer and honor the memories of those we’ve lost.

Ally-Khan Somani, MD, PhD, EMBA, FAAD, FACMS

Director of Dermatologic and Mohs Micrographic Surgery, SkinMD, Chicago, IL.

Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology & Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine

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