Hi, my name is Anthea Smith.
I'm a survivor, proud Mum, proud Mother.
I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in July 2015. A lump appeared on my left ear, it was misdiagnosed by my GP who for 5 years told me it was just a wart and nothing to worry about.
I've now had my whole ear amputated, followed by inner ear and middle ear removed, tragus removed, all salivary glands removed, all lymph nodes removed, facial nerve cut and stripped, skin and vessels taken from right thigh to replace skin from neck and scalp. Followed by 32 sessions of radical radiotherapy.
My attitude to sun protection today is extremely serious. I wear factor 50 sun cream each and every day, I wear sun glasses to protect my eyes as I have a mole behind my left eye. I avoid the sun at its hottest times, and seek shade at each opportunity.
I wear mySolbari hat to protect my scars, neck and face. I also wear mySolbari shawl, this offers amazing protection in any setting and is comfortable to wear. Whilst recently on holiday in Australia, both items literally saved my life as I didn't burn once, and they went everywhere with me.
What would I tell my 16 year old self, I would tell her to NEVER EVER use a sunbed, to NEVER sit out and bake in the sun, to respect skin, and accept self as natural beauty. I would tell my 16 year old self, that a tan is not healthy, it is a sign of damage to the largest organ in our body.
Pictured: Me at Manley Beach wearing mySolbari hat.
Thank you Anthea for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team
Your skin is your largest organ and has a long memory. Sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) damage is cumulative throughout your life. Research shows that sun damage contributes to more than 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, premature skin ageing as well as precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
It is very difficult to the untrained eye to identify melanomas and skin cancers because they can come in many different shapes and sizes.
As Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. says, "the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma or skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death."