Hi! My name is Linda McCall, and I am 57.
In July 2015 I was sent to a dermatologist because I had developed a black mark on my lip. This turned out to be benign, but the dermatologist asked if I would mind being fully examined. Thank goodness I said yes! He identified a suspicious mole above my left knee. It turned out to be an in-situ melanoma.
Since then I have had a further 15 moles removed, and 5 have been either in-situ or melanoma 1a. I see the dermatologist every 4 months, and hope that will continue indefinitely.
I have never been a sun worshipper, but nowadays I try to keep my skin covered as much as possible. I still like to go on sunshine holidays (when it is not at its hottest), but even then I keep my skin covered, even when I go swimming. I have discovered that I like big floppy sun hats, and wear one whenever I am out in the sun, unless I am using a parasol.
I would tell my 16 year old self, and indeed also my 8 year old self, to cover up whilst playing tennis. Although not a sun worshipper, I have run around on tennis courts most of my life. Even though most of the places I have had melanoma have never been burned, they were all exposed to the fresh air whenever I played tennis. I would also teach my younger self the wisdom of wearing a hat and drinking plenty of water.
Thank you Linda 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."