Personal cancer story
Many Australian country rock music fans would be familiar with the name Casey Barnes, a 44-year-old singer and songwriter hailing from the Gold Coast. Behind Casey’s smiling face on Halls of Fame, however, is his lesser-known journey with skin cancer.
Casey says he has always tried to be Sun Smart while enjoying the outdoors, having grown up in Tasmania playing outdoor sports and continuing to exercise outside frequently as an adult.
It was this love of the sun that pushed Casey to take part in routine skin checks, which revealed two unusual moles.
“My doctor wasn’t overly concerned, but I had a gut feeling to get a biopsy. A week later, I was told that the spots were early melanomas and needed to be removed as soon as possible. It was a reality check.”
Casey underwent surgery and says he felt lucky that the doctors were able to remove all margins of the melanomas. The spots were about the size of a pin- holding an equal record for the smallest melanoma his doctors had ever removed.
Casey now undergoes skin checks every 3 months to keep an eye on changes in other spots. His message to others is a crucial one: “Don’t think it won’t happen to you. Get peace of mind and get your skin checked regularly. I’m lucky that I had early detection.”
Casey has also vowed to change his behaviours in the sun, taking his exercise indoors and, while outdoors, using all five forms of sun protection – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
The long-sleeved shirt that Casey wears while jogging outdoors is his favourite protective accessory for all the right reasons. “I’m not making any fashion competitions, but I’d rather not die of a melanoma. This diagnosis was a wake-up call and the last thing I thought would happen to me.”
“I still see the ongoing damage that the sun has done to my skin over time. I’ll be getting regular checks for the rest of my life. I’m a dad with two young daughters. I want to be here as long as I can for them.”
Read more stories about people's personal experiences with cancer