I live in Australia. The Lucky Country. The Land Down Under. The Land of Sunshine.
Alas, along with all that sunshine (which, God, has been seriously lacking this summer) comes the risk of skin cancer. Apparently we Australia dwellers have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.
I grew up in a generation that sent their kids outside to play. Nothing wrong with that. It's called being healthy.
A generation that had not learned the concept of Slip, Slop, Slap. For those of you playing along, that means "Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen and Slap on a hat". Over the years, this simple saying has expanded to include "Wrap" (wrap some sunnies around your eyes) and now we are being encouraged to stay out of the sun between 10am & 3pm and to stay in the shade when we do venture out.
My first skin cancer was removed from my back 21 years ago. Yes, I was 21. I am fair skinned, which makes me a high risk candidate, and my skin burns quickly. I haven't had a bikini body since I was about 10, so my back was fairly well covered over the years by my one piece swimmers. However this little sucker's seed had been planted and developed on a piece of skin that hadn't seen the sun for years. Who would have thought?!
This time last year (almost to the day - it was 25th Feb), I went to my doctor with a list of minor ailments, as you do once you are on the "mature" side of 40. Blood tests, pap smear, skin check, all that kind of stuff. What I call a "grease & oil change". Got the all clear.
Found this on my upper arm this week. A piece of my body continually exposed to the sun as I wear short sleeved or sleeveless tops. Every day. Except in winter. Don't wear sunscreen every day though.
The dark dot in the middle wasn't there last week. The outline wasn't there last week. If I touch it I can "feel" it, you know how if you touch a mole you can't "feel" it? It's not pain, but it's just there.
So it's time to book myself an appointment to get it checked out. I think I will get it removed anyway, just to be on the safe side. I was lucky I sought a second opinion 21 years ago, as the first opinion told me it was nothing to worry about. I might not be here today if I hadn't trusted my gut instinct.
When did you last get your skin checked? Have you ever?
Wish me luck!