I was first motivated to get my skin checked three years ago after noticing a freckle on my lower leg had changed colour and shape over the space of a year.
I delayed visiting my GP and when I eventually went to get it checked, I was adamant on having the freckle removed even though my doctor wasn’t concerned.
I had three stitches to close up the initial wound, I was then told by my doctor to come back the following week to take the stitches out.
By the time I went in for my appointment, my stitches had opened. I was later told this can occur because the cancer doesn’t let the wound heal properly. It was in this appointment that my doctor told me I had a level three melanoma and I needed to go to a specialist to have it removed immediately.
I was shocked by the news as I had always been very vigilant applying sunscreen and covering my skin whilst in the sun due to my fair skin.
I was lucky because I had caught the melanoma before level 4 where it spreads through your blood and lymphatic system.
A few days later, I had surgery to remove the melanoma and ended up with six internal stitches and nine external stitches. Going forward, I was told by my Specialist that I would need 3 monthly skin checks for the next three years.
A year later, I noticed red discoloration under a pimple just below my nose. When I flagged this at my three-month check-up, it turned out to be a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC).
Given my history with skin cancer, I’m now really aware of the signs to look out for on my body and I was able to spot the BCC on my face.
After this experience, I’m a true advocate for raising awareness around the importance of regular skin checks. I believe more can be done to help educate people on how to self-check and I’m pleased to see TAL SpotChecker encouraging Australians to spread the word about the importance of regular skin checks.
Currently, I’m getting my skin checked every six months at a specialised skin cancer clinic and I also self-check my skin regularly.