A young Australian woman has shared a warning for sunbathers after a shock skin cancer diagnosis.
Amy Jackson, 32, thought her olive complexion was safe from cancer, and spent much of her teenage years sunbaking on Adelaide beaches.
Thinking that she was safe because she never got sunburnt Amy was horrified after her dermatologist told her a suspect looking-spot was a melanoma.
Amy Jackson, 32, (pictured) was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 29 and wants to share her experience to urge young Australians to be more sun safe
‘I didn’t think it was anything sinister, so when I found out that it was melanoma I was in complete shock and disbelief and so were my friends and family. Telling them was really hard,’ Ms Jackson told nine.com.au.
The melanoma was then removed, but the ordeal was far from over.
Ms Jackson then had to endure a lymph node biopsy, a procedure where doctors inject radioactive dye in the melanoma to see where its travelled in the body.
After more than a week of waiting, she finally received the test results and was relieved to be given a positive result, but the process has given her new perspective on how she looks after her skin.
‘I still like to go outside and I haven’t let the experience change my love of the Australian lifestyle, but I’m now much more careful. I now wear a hat and sunscreen and protect my skin when outdoors.’ she said.
Ms Jackson’s wake up call comes as a recent cancel council survey found over 38 per cent of teens like to tan, with a worryingly high 67 percent thinking a tan is healthy.
Ms Jackson’s wake up call comes as a recent cancel council survey found over 38 per cent of teens like to tan, with a worryingly high 67 percent thinking a tan is healthy (stock image)
In a video shared to Cancer Council’s Facebook page, Ms Jackson aims to tell her story to warn young Australians who believe their skin will be forever defensible.
‘I think it is important for younger people to know that most of the damage done to your skin is often in your childhood and teenage years, and that cannot ever be reversed.’ Ms Jackson says in a Cancer Council video.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the estimated number of diagnosis for skin cancer in 2018 is 14,320 a number which is growing year by year.
In 2017, there were 13,941 skin cancer cases and 1,839 deaths.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the estimated number of diagnosis for skin cancer in 2018 is 14,320 a number which is growing year by year
WHAT IS MELANOMA AND HOW CAN YOU PREVENT IT?
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It happens after the DNA in skin cells is damaged (typically due to harmful UV rays) and then not repaired so it triggers mutations that can form malignant tumors.
The estimated number of diagnosis for skin cancer in Australia in 2018 is 14,320 which grew from the previous year were there were 13,941 cases and 1,839 deaths.
Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
- Sun exposure: UV and UVB rays from the sun and tanning beds are harmful to the skin
- Moles: The more moles you have, the greater the risk for getting melanoma
- Skin type: Fairer skin has a higher risk for getting melanoma
- Hair color: Red heads are more at risk than others
- Personal history: If you’ve had melanoma once, then you are more likely to get it again
- Family history: If previous relatives have been diagnosed, then that increases your risk
This can be done by removing the entire section of the tumor or by the surgeon removing the skin layer by layer. When a surgeon removes it layer by layer, this helps them figure out exactly where the cancer stops so they don’t have to remove more skin than is necessary.
The patient can decide to use a skin graft if the surgery has left behind discoloration or an indent.
- Immunotherapy, radiation treatment or chemotherapy:
This is needed if the cancer reaches stage III or IV. That means that the cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body.
- Use sunscreen and do not burn
- Avoid tanning outside and in beds
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside
- Keep newborns out of the sun
- Examine your skin every month
- See your physician every year for a skin exam
Source: Skin Cancer Foundation and Cancer Council Australia