My name is Barry Prater.
I'm a 69 years old male.
My first experience with sunburn was when I was four years old. My parents took the family to the beach... as there was not a lot of publicity around sunburn/cover up back then the end result was severe sunburn on my shoulders and back. The treatment back then was calamine lotion and lots of it.
My skin cancers were first discovered when I was in my early twenties. I worked in the building trade as a carpenter... as you could imagine it was sleeveless shirts and small hats similar to today's bucket hats. The most affected areas were the back of my hands where the cancers were burnt off with a large cotton bud dipped in dry ice. This happened on regular occasions throughout my career.
Over the years I've had a twin basal cell carcinoma removed from the middle of my back and face. I have multiple sun spots on both arms. In January this year I had a malignant melanoma removed from my right ear. Fortunately I was onto it early with my wife inspecting my ears and found a black spot. It was on the back of my ear where I could not see it.
I now have the all clear that there is no sign of the cancer, however my specialist indicated that it could return in other parts of my body. I have to have skin checks every six months.
My attitude to sun protection to is paramount to completely covering up when outdoors in the sun. Wear 50+ sun protection clothing and sunscreen. Be careful as on cooler days and the wind is blowing one can get windburn which is just as bad as sunburn. Visit your doctor for regular skin checks.
I would suggest to a sixteen year old to think about unprotected sun exposure and the consequences of not covering up. I would show them my arms and back as evidence for not covering up. The idea is to help young people take responsibility for their skin and learn from those who have experienced the worst case scenario.
Thank you Barry for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team