Bob Marley’s Battle with Melanoma

The new movie Bob Marley: One Love tells the story of how Bob Marley becomes the king of reggae. The biopic shows how Marley’s music transcends generations, his songs echoing themes of love, unity, and social justice. However, behind the rhythmic melodies and soul-stirring lyrics lies a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the indiscriminate nature of skin cancer. Marley died from melanoma at the very young age of 36.

Dr. Jason Miller sheds light on the diagnosis that led to Marley’s untimely demise: “Bob Marley died of acral lentiginous melanoma, a less common but potentially more deadly variant of melanoma.” Acral lentiginous melanoma primarily manifests on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and beneath the nails. This elusive nature of the disease poses a significant challenge in early detection, as symptoms may be mistaken for benign conditions or go unnoticed until it reaches an advanced stage. This revelation serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of skin health awareness, especially within communities of color.

“This type of skin cancer is the most common melanoma variant in people of color. Unfortunately, this type of melanoma is often found late, as the location on the feet may make it harder to see, or it may be confused for a bruise/traumatic injury,” says Dr. Miller.

Dr. Miller emphasizes the critical role of regular skin screenings in detecting suspicious lesions early on. “During a screening, your dermatologist can check between toes, the bottoms of the feet, the hands, as well as the nails for any suspicious lesions, which can be biopsied if needed,” explains Dr. Miller. Dermatologists are trained to examine even the most inconspicuous areas for signs of melanoma, including between the toes and beneath the nails. Any new or changing lesions warrant immediate evaluation to rule out malignancy and initiate prompt treatment.

Furthermore, Dr. Miller underscores the importance of dispelling misconceptions surrounding skin cancer, particularly within communities where awareness may be lacking. Skin color does not provide immunity against melanoma; everyone, regardless of ethnicity, is susceptible to its grasp. By fostering a culture of proactive skin care and regular screenings, lives can be saved, and tragedies like Bob Marley’s can be prevented.

Bob Marley’s battle with skin cancer serves as a poignant reminder of the indiscriminate nature of this disease. Beyond his musical prowess, his legacy now includes a call to action — a call to prioritize our health, to be vigilant in monitoring our bodies for signs of trouble by keeping an eye on any new or changing lesions on the skin.

Annual skin screenings should be a regular part of your preventative healthcare routine. Call 844-DERM-DOC to schedule your full body skin exam.

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

Back to Top