What is your name?
Hello, I am Tony.
Describe yourself in 3 to 5 words:
I love outdoors and camping!
What is your occupation?
I work as a cook.
How did you discover your melanoma condition and how long ago?
My doctor spotted a mole on my leg about 5 years ago and asked me to have it cut out. I didn't want to do it at first but decided it will be better to have it out anyway. The mole came back from the lab with a confirmation it was a melanoma. Early stages, but still, very unpleasant.
I didn't know much about melanoma back then and my doctor seemed more scared than I was.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
My doctor told me to take sun protection very seriously. I started going to a skin doctor every six months to have a complete body check. Now, five years later it's all good, but I am much more careful about exposing my body to the sun. I've learned everything I need to know to protect my skin and allow it to rebuild and recover.
I now apply sunscreen every day in the morning and in the afternoon. When I go out camping, I always have sun protective clothing - long pants, long sleeves, a big hat with a brim and apply tons of sunscreen.
I have a big bottle of sunscreen in my car now too. I take sun protection and skincare much more seriously now and I don't want to do anything to damage my skin again.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self about sun protection?
You need to learn the dangers of being in the full sun for too long. When you go hiking or camping, always wear a good, big hat, cover your neck and apply sunscreen on your face and hands. Just cover your body head to toe and you are good to go. It will become a habit soon and it's totally worth it. It will protect you from surgery in the future and will save you lots of trouble. And remember to schedule annual skin checks at your doctor. Don't think twice about it - just do it.
Thank you Tony for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.