I'm big advocate for sun safety, so I'm very proactive with looking after my skin. I'm always pushing my friends and family to be more sun safe, I think most know the effects of the sun, but not to the extent they should. Most don't seem to understand the UV index, and how quickly you can get burnt in the middle of the day. There's still a long way to go for sun safety education!
As a teenager growing up in England my favourite summer pastime was sunbathing with friends. I have been extremely lucky to have not developed skin cancers (to date) and I am willing to start to take better care.
It's all about awareness really, and people are aware, they just need to take it seriously and notice it more. Knowing the consequences and being mindful of how easy it is to avoid, life in general, being out and about, is much easier, happier and less painful.
I first discovered skin problems via a visit to a skin cancer clinic in our district twenty years ago and have had lots of varying treatments since, including surgery. The common reference was “this damage was done when you were in your teens and lived in the surf."
A visit to my doctor ended up with appointment to dermatologist who diagnosed Basal Cell Carcinomas. I have been told after having had them once, they will probably return, in the same area, so I check myself regularly.
In my early 20s I developed a butterfly rash on my face that wouldn't go away. I was quickly diagnosed with discoid lupus and my specialist stressed that it was very important for me to stay protected from the sun. This was in the early 80s and I was living in Queensland, so it was a tough call.
Having grown up in a very active family, from a very early age I was participating in team sports whether it be football, tee-ball or cricket. My parents taught me the importance of using sun cream and zinc to protect my face, but also the benefit of wearing a long sleeve shirt to cover my arms, and a bucket hat or broad brim hat to keep the sun off my neck and ears.
It wasn't until I retired and relocated to Queensland from Victoria that I discovered that yearly skin checks were important. Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in Australia. I was shocked to be diagnosed with a squamous cell cancer on my forearm and shortly after, a Basal Cell on my throat.