In February 2023, I became one of the 16,800 Australian’s who will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. I have 20+ stitches and will forever have a scar as a reminder. While I’m going to be ok, another 6-12 months and it could have been a different story.
During my regular skin check my doctor noticed a spot on my arm that looked suspicious and shaved it off for a biopsy. I’ve always had regular checks and being half-Greek I have olive skin. Plus, I’m obsessive about wearing sunscreen and use fake tan for my shoots. So, when a week later the results came back positive for a ‘melanoma in situ’, I was shocked.
‘Melanoma is situ’ is an early melanoma – it means it hasn’t gone through the epidermis. I was referred to a plastic surgeon to remove the margins around the melanoma. I was initially concerned about the scar, until I was told there was a small chance the melanoma was deeper.
Two weeks later I had the surgery and a few days after that I found out I was in the clear – no more melanoma. I’m so grateful for my amazing doctors Dr Christoph Thelen at CBD Skin Cancer Clinic for the early detection and Dr Jeon Cha for his incredible surgical skills.
While my photos may indicate otherwise, I don’t actually sun bake, and I wear SPF 50+ every day. Although I do acknowledge there are things I can do better and differently. I know posing in the sun for a photo or floating in the water for a drone shot is not much different to sun baking, so it’s something I’m going to have to rethink for my shoots.
If you haven’t had a skin check or are overdue for one, please #GetASkinCheck as a matter of urgency. In Australia we have the highest rate of melanoma in the world – we are all at risk, regardless of skin type, genetics, and ethnicity.
I don’t normally post about personal health issues, but this message is too important not to share. Skin checks are life saving.
Get ready for a shadier island life coming your way. 🌴