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
Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing some stories from the Solbari Community to help raise awareness about skin cancer, melanoma and sun protection.
If you are interested in sharing your story, please answer the following questions from the relevant questionnaire and send us a picture of yourself being sun safe in the outdoors.
I grew up thinking pale was beautiful till I started university in the mid 70s. Then I took a U turn and decided a tanned look would make me look more attractive. I went all out achieving a tanned look, lying out in the sun during the summer holidays, after my summer job hours and all weekends. That went on for many years.