Personal cancer story
Cancer type: Melanoma
Born in the 1960s and growing up in the country, using sun protection wasn’t something I was aware of early on. I remember when the Slip, Slop, Slap campaign was introduced in the 1980s and I started wearing a hat and using sunscreen. I am a tradie and have worked as an electrician, in construction and as a roofer.
The doctor who removed the spot said the damage was probably done many years earlier, but after years of outdoor exposure the spot eventually appeared. "
It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I noticed a spot on my calf muscle whilst in the shower. When I saw it at first, I tried to scrub it off thinking it was dirt, but it didn’t go anywhere, so I went to get it checked. The doctor made a small cut to remove the mole and sent it off to be tested. It came back as an early-stage melanoma. A second visit to the doctor was needed to remove more tissue to make sure the melanoma had not spread and I had a small skin graft to cover the area. The doctor who removed the spot said the damage was probably done many years earlier, but after years of outdoor exposure the spot eventually appeared.
I was lucky to catch it at an early stage. I had to be extremely vigilant for 5 years following finding the skin cancer and I am now more aware of my skin. It’s so important to look at your own skin and go to the doctor if you notice a change.
It is important to check your skin regularly. If you notice a change in shape, size or colour of a spot, see your doctor. Use the 5 types of sun protection whenever the UV is 3 and above to protect yourself daily.
Read more about how to check for signs of skin cancer.
Read more stories about Tasmanians personal experiences with cancer