A Redcliffe grandfather and gardening enthusiast is reminding people of the importance of sun protection and early intervention as part of Skin Cancer Action Week, which runs until Sunday.
John Smith recently had radiation therapy to treat his non-melanoma skin cancer after being left with significant scarring after having skin cancers removed over the past 15 years.
The removal of two tumours from his face in 2012 led to skin grafts to John’s nose and ears, leaving him with noticeable scarring.
“When I had my first skin cancer removed it didn’t worry me too much,” John says.
“I thought ‘oh it’s just one small scar’, but as time went on and I had cancers removed from all around my face, arms and back, it’s no longer just one small scar.
Multiple skin grafts
“As a result of my skin cancers, I’ve had two skin grafts on my face, one on my nose and another on my ear - I’ve lost my self-confidence and I now battle with self-esteem issues around how I look.
“I’m not a vain or superficial person, but it is hard to look in the mirror sometimes and see all the scars, particularly the ones on my face and arms.”
John discussed treatment options with his dermatologist, who referred him for radiation therapy at GenesisCare.
He says he’s delighted with the result.
“Now that I’m older I can look back and realise that it may have been nice to have a tan in the summer, but tans fade, and later in life those actions are going to come back and hurt you.
“When I see young people just lying out in the sun, I want to walk up to them and say, ‘look at me, look at what happens if you don’t protect your skin’.
“I want other people who grew up as part of the ‘sun-burnt generation’ and may be fighting with their own self-esteem or self-confidence, or have skin cancer scars like mine, to know they are not alone.”
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