by REBECCA OBORN
Growing up as a ginger kid in South Australia meant I was never one to deliberately spend time in the sun trying to get a tan. Every red head knows there’s no point in trying to turn our white skin brown!
I did however spend almost every weekend outside playing with friends which meant a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation throughout my childhood.
Along with my fair skin came a lot of freckles and even more moles. One mole on my back changed dramatically when I was 21 so after a few weeks of putting it off, I finally had it checked by my GP.
My GP had it removed and biopsied, but he told me that because I was young it was probably nothing to worry about so I was shocked when the results from the biopsy showed that the mole was a malignant melanoma. I was then told I had a 50% chance of survival and would need surgery straight away.
The shock of it was incredible; I was fed so much information that day that hardly any of went in… that stat about 50% survival did. It just kept playing over and over in mind. ‘But I feel fine’ I kept thinking, ‘but I’m not old yet’ was another.
After the surgery, I received good news that they had successfully removed the tumour. I was left with a 10cm scar and as part of my recovery I had to be extra cautious about checking myself and staying out of the sun.
After six months I noticed another change in the moles in that area which meant another biopsy. The results were bad. The cancer had returned in two different spots.