A spontaneous decision to get a skin cancer check saved Olivia Jackson’s life.
Two weeks before her 21st birthday, Olivia was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. She had been sun-safe all her life, with no personal or family history of skin cancer, and this was her first skin check.
“Mum’s had multiple skin checks throughout her life,” says Olivia. “She was going to book me in, but I wasn’t concerned. Skin cancer doesn’t run in my family.
“Then the doctor told me there was a worrisome mole. It was only three millimetres, so I never saw it on my back.
“The doctor said if I waited four months or so, it would be a completely different story right now. It would probably be someone else sharing my story.”
After receiving her diagnosis, the hardest part was telling her loved ones.
“I was very shocked. It’s not something you expect. It’s the last thing on your mind.”
Olivia thinks most people are indifferent about their skin cancer risk.
“My friends said this wasn’t something they thought about in their everyday life, that they would have to get a skin check.”
Every minute an Australian is diagnosed with skin cancer.
Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians aged 15 to 29 years.
Olivia now advocates for everyone to get regular skin checks.
“I just encourage people to take 30 minutes out of their day to get a skin check because you’re putting 30 minutes back into your future.”
Watch Olivia’s melanoma story:
Dr Escalin Selvaraj, one of our Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic doctors, encourages regular detailed skin checks for all North Queenslanders as they are at such high risk of skin cancer with the ambient UV index we have year round.
“There is no doubt of the importance for Australians to take the appropriate steps from prevention to detection of skin cancer.” says Dr Selvaraj
“With something as serious as a potentially life-threatening melanoma, early detection is key to long term survival,”