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Personal cancer story

Alastair McCausland

When 42-year-old marketing professional, Alastair McCausland, first noticed a small pimple on his face, he didn’t think it was a problem. 

“I grew up as a child of the 80’s and spent a lot of time in the sun as a kid”, he reflects. 

Alastair’s love of the outdoors continued into adulthood. “I spend a lot of time in the sun – gardening, riding bikes and running. I would always put sunscreen on and never worried too much about it.” 

When the spot on the side of this face didn’t heal, he consulted a GP. The doctor referred him to a skin cancer clinic, and he was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma

“The diagnosis was confronting. It was a big shock to think about my mortality. It really changed my behaviour”, he says.  

Alastair had the basal cell carcinoma burnt off and surgically removed under a local anaesthetic. 

“My diagnosis put sun protection front and centre. The damage the sun can do to your skin is irreversible. I feel like a ticking time bomb now. 

“My wife and I now get annual skin cancer checks, and I constantly annoy my son about protecting himself. He, like many kids, thinks he’s bullet proof.” 

“Sunscreen and a cap won’t do it – you need all forms of sun protection.” 

Alastair has also made a habit of adapting to the conditions. “I’m much wearier of the sun and I always check the UV level and protect myself when it is 3 or above.  

“Even if I’m going for a walk with the kids for half hour, I need to protect myself because, depending on the UV, the sun is doing you damage.” 

What’s one message Alastair wants Australian men to hear? “Skin cancer can happen to anyone.”  

Almost twice as many men as women die from melanoma in Australia.  

Protect yourself by Slipping on sun-protective clothing, Slopping on broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF30 or higher sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade and Slide on sunglasses whenever the UV is 3 or above. 

Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer