Slip. Slop. Slap.
Except I didn’t. Well not when I was a teenager anyway. We lived at the beach. Being tanned was super cool. So we all roasted on the beach like rotisserie chickens. We would time how long we’d been sunbaking on one side to make sure we would roll over and “be even”.
This was before one of my classmates died of melanoma at 17. In our final year. During our HSC. It was balls.
We went straight from our final exam to his funeral and lined the street in a guard of honour for the hearse to drive down.
I didn’t sunbake very much after that. Whenever I did end up in the sun I felt too guilty. So I covered up. But the damage is done. Well, was done, WAY before I woke up to myself. More that 5 serious blistering sunburns before age 15. Uh..Tick. Family hx of skin cancer. Tick. More than 50 moles. Erm…Tick. Pale skin, freckles, green-blue eyes. TICK, TICK and FRICK.
According to some studies, Australian 12 year olds have the same fine lines and wrinkles from sun exposure that European 30 year olds have.
Even though I get regular…ish skin checks my recent stint on Palliative care looking after metastatic melanoma patients left me a little edgy. Then a dermoscopy workshop where the facilitator strongly suggested I get a few, uh, slightly irregular pigmented lesions “looked at” (read: YOU HAVE CANCER. COMPLETE YOUR WILL & START DISTRIBUTING YOUR BELONGINGS) didn’t help.
So I got them “looked at”. Then I got them “cut out”. Then I got the “pathology back”.
They were all benign.
They were all junctional naevi with a higher risk of developing into malignant melanomas.
Where is that sunscreen?