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Jesse’s Sun Exposure Warning

Jesse’s Sun Exposure Warning

15 November 2010

SunSmart Week – 14 to 20 November

Jesse Lust was training to be a nurse when a lecture about melanoma prompted him to have a mole on his arm checked out.

“I asked my GP to take a look at the mole, which was on my right arm. The doctor was unsure whether it was a melanoma but decided to err on the side of caution. The mole was removed and tested, and it turned out there were cancer cells present, and that I had stage one melanoma.”

Jesse, who was 26 at the time, had further surgery to ensure all the melanoma cells had been captured, and now has a large scar on his arm.

Speaking during SunSmart Week, Jessie says his brush with melanoma has made him very aware of the dangers of not using sun protection.

“As a student nurse, I feel privileged that I am in a position to raise awareness about the need to be safe in the sun. I can support people who have melanoma as I am aware of its harsh effects.”

It is known that sunburn in childhood increases the risk of melanoma later in life, and Jesse thinks this was definitely the case for him.

“I spent heaps of time in the sun as a child and teenager. I was always outdoors, especially mountain biking, at the times of the day when ultraviolet radiation was the strongest. In summer, I spent many days at the beach – that was my normal lifestyle.

“I wish I had been smarter about protecting myself from the sun and not got sunburnt so often. I remember every year feeling the sunburn on my back or shoulders as I rolled over in bed; for me it was a sign summer had arrived!”
His message to others is to have fun outside in summer – but do it safely.

“I have three young children, and I always make sure they cover up in the sun. If you can prevent your children from being sunburnt, you greatly reduce their risk of developing melanoma as adults.

“I take care of myself too. During daylight saving months I wear a hat and use sunscreen every day. I exercise in the mornings or late afternoons to avoid the times of the day when the sun is the strongest. I still go to the beach, have BBQs and enjoy the outdoors – I'm just more cautious and know that I need to protect myself.”

Parents can make sure they and their children are sun safe by following the slip, slop, slap and wrap advice – especially between 11am and 4pm:

• Slip on some sun-protective clothing, i.e. shirt with a collar and long sleeves, and slip into some shade whenever possible.

• Slop on plenty of broad spectrum SPF30+ sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. (Note: sunscreen should never be your only or main sun protection)

• Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.

• Wrap on some sunnies. Choose sunglasses that cover the whole eye area.
For advice on choosing a sunscreen and sunglasses that will help to protect you from the sun, visit your local pharmacy.


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