A chance recommendation from her friend saved Tahyla Newton’s life.
Tahyla (then 19 years old) was on holiday on Tasmania’s east coast when her friend noticed a strange mole on her foot and suggested it might be skin cancer. Tahyla thought it was nothing to worry about.
But her concerned friend booked Tahyla an appointment to see a doctor with advanced training in skin cancer medicine, and Tayhla was diagnosed with melanoma.
“I was on my way to my first ever day at uni and I got a call, and they said ‘We think you should bring a support person to your appointment later on today.’,” says Tahyla.
Now 20, Tahyla has survived three melanomas.
“It’s scary to think what might have happened if I didn’t get them checked,” she says. “I would have missed my uni graduation and my career as a nurse.”
“I would have missed out on growing up.”
While studying nursing, Tahyla saw patients in hospital with late-stage melanoma and understood how dangerous it could be, but before her own diagnosis she hadn’t really thought much about skin cancer. Her mother had had a melanoma, but Tahyla didn’t know there could be a family risk of the disease.
Tahyla now has a comprehensive skin cancer check every three months.
“Skin cancer is this big and scary thing, but when you’re undergoing regular skin checks, it can never grow to become that.”
“You can catch it and deal with it when it’s still very little,” she says.
Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians aged 15 to 29 years.
With something as serious and life-threatening as skin cancer, the earlier it’s detected, the higher the chance of successful treatment, which is why regular skin cancer checks are essential for all Australians.
Watch Tahyla’s melanoma story: