S4E23: Skin Cancer, Merkel Cell Carcinoma, and Easy Prevention Steps You Can Take

This week we celebrate the life of Jimmy Buffett as we also learn about Merkel cell carcinoma, the type of skin cancer that caused his death. While we share his search for that lost shaker of salt, we also advocate for smart behaviors when exposed to the sun.

What is Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive type of skin cancer.  Although it accounts for less than 1% of malignant skin tumors, it is the second leading cause of death from skin cancer after melanoma. It is worth noting that the incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is rapidly increasing around the world by 8% every year.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma is solitary, painless and firm with a red-violet or red-blue appearance. Schmerling, R.A. et al

Listen to learn detailed facts about MCC. Most importantly, we talk about ways to reduce your risk not just for MCC, but for all types of skin cancer.

How can I reduce my risk of skin cancer?

Seeking shade, wearing protective clothing — including a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection — and wearing sunscreen on all skin not covered by clothing — are all important behaviors to reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Tribute to Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett on stage, from Rolling Stones

Jimmy Buffett died on September first, 2023 at the age of 76 from Merkel cell skin cancer. We celebrate his life through the tribute by Danny Kelly.

When asked in an interview how he would like to be remembered, Jimmy answered:

I’d say “He had a good time and made a lot of people happy” would be good. Yeah, that’d be good.

— Jimmy Buffett, in Rolling Stones Interview

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Resources about Skin Cancer:

Recipe of the Week

To continue on our island theme, we talked about the funeral traditions of Jamaica, and have a recipe for margarita cake with key lime cream cheese frosting! Be sure to get the full recipe from Sweet Pea’s kitchen!

A layered cake with lime and cream cheese
Get this margarita cake recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

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