The Bob Marley Story A Death by Skin Cancer

The Bob Marley Story A Death by Skin Cancer

Source: RepeatingIslands

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Dr Cleland Gooding MD., F.A.A.D., a physician with a specialty in Skin Diseases employed by the Bahamas Government, has penned this intriguing article about Bob Marley’s failed treatment for skin cancer, which eventually progressed to the brain cancer responsible for his death at 36. Here are excerpts, with a link to the original article below.

Bob Marley the charismatic beloved Jamaican singer, who introduced reggae infused with Rastafarian themes died from a cancerous brain Tumor on May 11, 1981 in Miami. Florida.

Bob was only 36 years old

It’s been 30 years since his death; and there have many rumours and speculation about the cause of death. Did he really die from a brain tumor? Or other nefarious causes? Like the CIA? Poison in his boots etc? Bob Marley’s medical records were never made public. However from several sources I managed to piece together the story of his illness and death from Metastatic Skin Cancer (Melanoma). This account I hope is fair, balanced and enlightening.

Bob Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music and is credited with spreading Jamaican and the Rastafarian movement worldwide.

The Bob Marley Story A Death by Skin Cancer

When was the first indication that something was amiss with Bob Marley’s health? According to sources this first happened in the summer of 1977. He injured his right great toe during a Soccer game on tour in Paris, France.

The toe nail became partially detached and painful. He admitted to his manager that the toe had been injured before and a wound was “on and off” for years! If that was true, could a malignant melanoma (skin cancer) been growing there earlier? A wound or sore that refuses to heal is a classic sign of skin cancer.

The hotel doctor was consulted and the right great toe nail was removed and the toe bandaged. No biopsy was done. The European tour continued and the Right great toe appeared to heal. However, later that summer he hurt the toe again playing soccer.

It was painful and a new wound opened up and refused to heal. As Bob Marley went to London for a meeting, late that summer (1977), his manager advised him to see a doctor. According to reports the appearance of his toe shocked the Doctor. It was said to be “eating away”. A skin biopsy was done (removal of skin tissue for examination under the microscope).

The shocking diagnosis of a malignant melanoma (Skin Cancer) was given to Bob Marley. He was advised that treatment would be to amputate the toe, to stop the cancer from spreading.

In Miami still in the summer 1977, the British diagnosis of malignant melanoma was confirmed to Bob Marley again. He was advised to get the toe amputated and possibly the right foot. Again he refused.

The Bob Marley Story A Death by Skin Cancer

Why didn’t Bob Marley have the amputation? He cited religious beliefs about “not cutting the flesh”. However he allowed the famous orthopedic surgeon Dr William Bacon to do a surgical excision to “cut away” cancerous tissue on the toe and do a skin graft at Cedar’s of Lebanon Hospital (now University of Miami Hospital). He remained in Hospital one week and spent about three months recuperating in Miami. The procedure was deemed “a success”. But sadly it was not. The cancer in it virulent form began to spread through his body (metastasized).

This brings the question, why would Bob Marley get skin cancer on his toe? First we must remember that Bob was diagnosed with an Acral Melanoma. This type accounts for 70 per cent of melanoma in darkly pigmented individual or Asians.

It typically occurs on non-sun exposed areas as the palm, the sole and mucosa and under the nails. It is characterised by a dark mole or spot that can turn cancerous.

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