As Regular Readers know, I have displayed uncharacteristic calm in the face of a recent discovery of some decidedly sketchy skin anomalies. As a Card-Carrying Hypochondriac, this type of Finding is typically a one way ticket to The Dark Place--a mental destination in which I wallow in despair over my certain doom. I've done some Hard Time in the Dark Place over possibilities with chances of actually unfolding hovering in the single digits. However, for reasons which remain unclear, I surveyed my odds against possible skin cancer and deemed the whole thing Thoroughly Survivable, a belief that casual conversations with family and even blog comments confirmed.
Imagine my surprise, then, at the publication of the following table in my local paper reporting the Actual Odds of Surviving various afflictions by locality:
For those who may encounter difficulties viewing the area of detail within the image, reference the stats in the "melanoma" block in the "My City" column. Really? Apparently, in My City, not only does every single one of the melanoma victims perish, so also does .8--a full 80%!-- of some other poor, unsuspecting soul. What are the chances? More people die of melanoma than even have it? Long odds, indeed.
Considering my recent gaffes in reading comprehension, I'm willing to concede the possibility that I have completely misread the above table. But what I'm seeing here is melanoma--a form of skin cancer stacked up against some of the biggest Medical Headline Makers and emerging, by far, as the most virulent of the maladies. Now, I do know that not all skin cancers are melanomas--but, frankly, we don't know what we're dealing with here, and let me reiterate: we're looking at an ailment possible of taking out more people than even have the diagnosis.
And you know what? At the risk of losing my own hypochondria diagnosis--I'm still completely unfazed. What are the odds of that?