Dad and melanoma survivor warns parents of skin cancer risk ahead of summer

A Tasmanian dad and melanoma survivor is warning parents to have their regular skin cancer check after being told he is lucky to be alive.

 

Chris Hills was diagnosed with stage II melanoma after going for a skin cancer check with what he thought was an irritated rash he had picked up during his typical day in the garden.

“I was watching the cricket with a friend one day when he noticed an irritation on my arm and recommended I go to get it checked out,” Chris said.  

“I didn’t think it was going to be really anything, I thought I might get some cream and that would fix it. I had a little one-year-old with me at the time; it was a total shock.  

“While I was having the melanoma removed, the surgeon actually said, “you’re a very lucky man, if you left this six months you may not be here today."

“My first thoughts were ‘not me, what about everyone else?’. I couldn’t think of a life for my kids without me being here. 

“I’ve always been someone that didn’t think I needed to have a skin check, and now, from my perspective, it’s a matter of life and death.”  

Every minute an Australian is diagnosed with skin cancer, and for people with a first-degree relative with a history of melanoma, the risk of developing the skin cancer is 74 per cent higher. 

“While it’s important for parents to stay on top of their skin checks, it’s also imperative their children are having regular check-ups, particularly if they themselves have a history of skin cancer,” Dr Dianne King at New Town Skin Centre said.  

“With something as serious and life-threatening as skin cancer, the earlier we detect it, the higher the chances are of successful treatment.  

“Regular skin checks – at least once a year – are incredibly important for early detection of skin cancer and can produce potentially lifesaving results. 

“Especially heading into summer and the warmer weather, it’s important to take all the appropriate steps, from prevention to detection. Closing the loop is important to us.”   

This year alone more than 15,000 skin cancers have been treated at the National Skin Cancer Centres across Australia.

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Written by National Skin Cancer Centres