Looking beyond tan at melanoma risks

Bonnie Stacey is sharing her experiences with melanoma.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Bonnie Stacey is sharing her experiences with melanoma. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

Ms Stacey was having annual skin checks and when she asked her doctor to examine the mole, the diagnosis was quick.

‘I can tell you right now that is melanoma,’ she told her.

Ms Stacey said she was shocked to hear the diagnosis, but now uses her experience to motivate other people to be aware of the risks and make smart choices.

She will be the guest speaker at a fundraising luncheon to mark the Kirkbride Melanoma Centre’s 10th anniversary on March 20.

‘I did suntan when I was a teenager, but I thought I was too young to get something like this,’ Ms Stacey said.

‘You are not invincible.

‘It’s becoming more common for young people to be diagnosed with melanoma.’

Melanoma kills more young Australians aged 20 to 34 years than any other cancer.

After treatment and surgery, Ms Stacey’s prognosis is good but she will need to monitor it for the rest of her life.

She said the misconception that having a tan made you look healthy was fuelling some young people’s obsession with tanning.

‘People should be getting skin checks every year and educating themselves on the risks,’ she said.

‘If you are going to the beach, go outside of peak UV times: earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon.

‘I work outside, but being aware of the risks hasn’t stopped me from being outdoors.

‘I cover myself in sunscreen, wear long-sleeved shirts and wear a hat.’

Tickets are available online at www.perkins.org.au/events/anniversary-luncheon or call 6151 0818.