ALL ORDERS SENT WITH FAST DELIVERY VIA DHL EXPRESS

Your Story Series: Meet Fran

Solbari blog: Your Story Series: Meet Fran

What is your name?

Hi, my name is Fran Ross.

Describe yourself in 3 to 5 words.

Outgoing, pro-active, positive.

How did you discover your skin cancer/melanoma and how long ago?

I've had many Basal Cell Carcinomas and five melanomas. The first melanoma was forty years ago, in my mid-thirties; my GP validated my concern about a mole on my forearm and removed it. Then I had annual checks by a dermatologist.

After my mother died of melanoma in 1995, her specialist advised me to have six-monthly checks. In 2003 I went to work in Europe, where regular skin checks are not a "normal" part of the health system, so every year I paid to go to a Mole Clinic in London for a check. Following my eventual return to Australia, one of my first actions in 2011 was to visit a Skin Cancer Clinic, where the doctor biopsied a spot on my ankle and identified a melanoma. Because it was large and near my Achilles, I needed a plastic surgeon. He took a skin graft from the opposite thigh - which was more painful during recovery than the melanoma site!

A few years later, the Skin Cancer Clinic diagnosed three more melanomas on one day: two on my upper arm and one near my eye. I went back to the plastic surgeon for the one near my eye. After all that I was on three-monthly watch.

What is your attitude towards sun protection today?

    When I was a child, nobody mentioned skin cancer. We went bushwalking and swam a lot. My mother would say, "Don't get burned. You'll be sore." My siblings and I used to peel the dead skin of sunburn from each other's backs, like snake-skin, laughing because it tickled.

    These days, avoiding full sun is my outdoor priority. Last year I had radiation following surgery and chemotherapy for breast cancer, and the radiation makes skin even more sensitive. I also have lymphoedema in my arm from the surgery; so while gardening or going for a walk, I need to reduce exposure to sun and to scratches or insect bites, to avoid cellulitis infections. Long sleeves with SPF 50+ protective fabric are a must, especially in the garden. I use SPF50+ cream every time I go outside. I love big hats and long, loose clothing, but I need to be careful to use sun protection on the back of my hands, and on my feet and lower legs too.

    I wear a long-sleeved rashie when swimming.

    What would you tell your 16 year old self about sun protection?

      • Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go out - every day of the year.
      • Your Celtic skin will never tan. Pale is beautiful.
      • Big hats and cover-ups are chic.

      Thanks Fran, for sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
      The Solbari Team



      Also in Solbari Blog

      Solbari blog: Your Story Series: Meet Andrew
      Your Story Series: Meet Andrew

      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!
      Read More
      Solbari blog: Your Story Series: Meet Barbara
      Your Story Series: Meet Barbara

      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.
      Read More
      Your Story Series: Meet Jen
      Your Story Series: Meet Jen

      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.
      Read More