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.
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.
My melanoma was initially on the white of the eye, it started off as a red spot that looked like a burst blood vessel... something my mum noticed when I was young and although we asked about it over the years no one seemed to be phased. When I was in my later teens the spot had become highly vascularised, raised and red, and I was sent to an ophthalmologist, where I had a biopsy done, this came back as benign.
I am a happy teenager focused on what I can do and enjoy in my life, rather than stress about the medical conditions I have or the foods and things I cannot have. Thank you Solbari for this opportunity to be an advocate for the skin condition atopic dermatitis and for other sufferers of this skin condition in the community.
These days I am obsessed with sun protection. My regime in recent years has been so effective that people often remark on how good my skin looks, which is quite the compliment for someone who is 50-something and raised in Australian conditions.
It's never too early to start taking care of your skin - your older self will be very grateful if you start right away! Don't buy into believing that you need to be nicely tanned at all times. You will be much better off avoiding sun, skin damage and premature wrinkles. Not to mention the risk of getting skin cancer.
For me, despite being vigilant growing up in the 'slip slop slap' era with caring parents and being a responsible young adult, my cancer progressed - partly because of my high-risk skin. I really want everyone to take sun safety seriously because it is preventable if you are cautious and get regular skin checks.