Today marks the 34th anniversary of the death of reggae music pioneer, Bob Marley. He was not only instrumental in popularizing reggae music worldwide, but also the Jamaican and Rastafarian culture. Tragically in 1981, at the age of only 36, he died from a cancerous brain tumor. It is believed that the tumor may have been the result of an untreated case of a malignant melanoma.
According to sources, the first indication of Marley’s melanoma occurred while playing in a soccer game in the summer of 1977. During the game he badly injured his right big toe. Thinking it was just a bruise, he chose not to have it looked at further. With the injury not improving and actually worsening, Marley had a biopsy done on his toe. This confirmed a diagnosis of a malignant melanoma (type of skin cancer). The medical staff recommended that the toe, and possibly even the foot, be amputated to avoid the condition from spreading. Marley refused the amputation, stating that it was against his religious beliefs. With the condition continuing to worsen, Marley agreed to have an orthopedic surgeon perform a skin graft on the toe. The treatment was believed to have successfully removed the cancerous lesion. A few years later in September of 1980, Marley was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This was thought to have been the result of the melanoma in his toe spreading before it received treatment. Eight months later on May 11, 1981 Bob Marley passed away.
While melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer, if it is found early it can be one of the most treatable. This makes early detection essential, so if you haven’t had your skin checked in a while make sure to set up an appointment today!