07 Jan It’s time to take your skin seriously!
When it comes to talking about sun safety, Princetown’s Janice Lindsay has a real conversation starter that she uses to get her message across.
She calls it her ‘shark bite’ (pictured below).
It’s a 6cm hole in her leg where surgeons removed a nasty stage four melanoma 13 years ago.
“It worries me a lot when I see young people, and older people for that matter, deliberately lying out in the sun,” Ms Lindsay said.
“I still think lots of people don’t get it – they don’t understand how harmful getting sunburnt can be.
“People think it’s not going to happen to them, but everyone needs to be mindful. It happened to me in my late 30s.”
Now 51, Ms Lindsay remembers the Summer of 2006-2007 vividly.
“I’d always had a little lump behind my knee. It was skin colour and looked a bit like a wart,” she said.
“I’d had it checked over the years and the results were always fine. In December 2006 I noticed it had changed colour – it went from skin colour to black in about six weeks.
“I went to the doctors in Timboon, they cut it out and the results came back as stage four melanoma.”
Ms Lindsay went to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and had a 3cm radius removed right around where the cancer was.
“They told me I was one of the lucky ones. It hadn’t spread, I’d got it early and didn’t need further treatment – but I’ll always remember the waiting and praying that Christmas/New Year,” she said.
“My children were little then, but we were honest with them about what was going on. It was a very anxious time.”
Ms Lindsay said she was vigilant about regular skin checks for all her family and subsequently had some minor carcinomas removed.
“If you leave them, there’s a chance they could turn nasty so I’ve had the odd one removed for peace of mind,” she said.
“My children get checked as well and they certainly get growled at when they get burnt.
“I talk to everyone about it and I’m not worried about people seeing my ‘shark bite’ and talking about it. It’s an important message to be smart, cover your skin and use sunscreen.”
For an initial skin check, please call the Timboon Clinic on 5558 6088 to make an appointment.
Facts from the Melanoma Institute of Australia
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian men, after prostate and colorectal cancer
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian women, after breast and colorectal cancer
- Melanoma is the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39-year-old Australians