Editor's note: The following was posted on Mark Davis' Facebook page.
"Thanks for ALL the prayers , texts, e-mails, calls and great words of encouragement. This ended up being a bigger deal than I ever planned on but the doctor is very confident that they got the complete tumor and should heal well. The doctor is hopeful he won't need any reconstruction as well ."
“Let us pray…”
Dateline: Strike King Writers Conference
We are down a man.
As this conference is about to begin, we will all bow our heads and say a prayer for the missing man who Monday morning will be going through surgery in Little Rock for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of his lower lip.
“The spot was recurring on my lip, had it checked twice and it turned out not to be cancer. The third time the spot came back and my lip turned black, they biopsied that and it turned out to be cancerous.”
I’m just listening, then: “They said it was fairly advanced.”
“…Lord give our friend, your child, strength…”
I’m a guy, I hear all about this skin cancer stuff, did a story awhile back with Kelly Jordon as he was going through a bout with this type of cancer, but I’m also a dumb guy, sometimes I protect myself, most times not, squirt some SPF stuff on my arms, maybe my bald head, less maybe my face…never my lips.
From the skin cancer folks, some facts: Your lower lip, like Mark’s, is 12 times more likely to get skin cancer than the upper lip.
Males are up to 13 times more likely than females to get this type of skin cancer.
Go look in the mirror if you are a fair skinned male over 50, you are the poster boy for this disease.
“The sun damage it’s accumulative, adds up on you, once I knew I had a problem, it was too late.”
“…Lord please hold and guide the surgeon’s hand…”
“Thing is db, I constantly wore sun protection on my lips, basically chap-stuff but it was hard to protect them because I’m always drinking water or licking my lips.”
Mark is a bear of a man, quiet by nature, somewhat shy, one not to bring attention to himself.
I found out about this back during B.A.S.S. University at AOY when I walked up to my friend and said, “How are you doing here, you going to make the Classic,” and his answer was, “Maybe, maybe not I’d like to but there are certainly more important things in life than the tournament, than making the Classic.”
I actually stood back and looked up at him, like, what?
Very much out of character until he leaned down and almost whispered to me, “I have skin cancer, surgery in a couple of weeks.” Then he stood up and looked long past me while saying, “You know you're on the road, no time to get much else done but get to the next place, the next event, I put it off going to the docs until that break we had this summer,” then he looked back at me, took my shoulder and said, “waited too long I did.”
“…Lord please cradle his family and comfort his friends…”
According to Mark, “The docs don’t know how much of my lower lip they will take, they go down layer by layer until they get to the layer that doesn’t have any cancer in it.”
Once the surgery is complete Mark will have plastic surgery to reconstruct his lower lip.
“db, I want people out there, especially the guys to don’t be dumb, protect yourself, every part that is exposed including your lips.”
Truth be told Mark ONLY agreed to talk about this in a story if I agreed to do it as some sort of public service to help others, to warn others.
“Tell them folks that I believe, now this is just me, but I believe the only true prevention of something like this is by religiously wearing one of those Buff things that you wear around your neck and then pull up over your face.”
Since talking with Mark about this I’ve done several hours reading about how to prevent lip cancer from the sun, and frankly, about all I can find is wear lip block with high SPF, but I’m like Mark, and possibly you as well, I lick my lips, sometimes bite them, I drink a lot of liquids and wipe my lips…I’m not sure wearing lip block alone is the answer.
If you want to read about this yourself, this is a good starting point.
Listen, as Mark says, “don’t be dumb,” know this can happen, anything on you the sun can touch…PROTECT.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and kills about 10,000 people annually, with 73,000 people coming down with the most dangerous form of skin cancer, Melanoma, this year alone.
And for Mark, for his wife, Tilly, for his sons, James, Hunter, Fisher, you are in our prayers here, and in the prayers of those from around the world.
Love ya man.
Prayin’ for you.
“…Lord may you protect all your children from disease, let us pray.”