IT'S been nearly 12 years since I lost my father to cancer.
He was only 59 and was taken from us way too early. Not a day goes by when I don't experience something and wish my dad was here to experience it with me. Time never makes the pain go away, nor does it ever make it easier, but it does help with the healing.
My dad was taken by melanoma. It's a horrible cancer anyone can develop. We know unprotected, consistent exposure to the sun is one of the main causes, but the truth is melanoma doesn't discriminate. There are five people who die every day in Australia from this cancer.
The melanoma that resulted in the loss of my father was on the top of his head. Dad was not a sun lover, he didn't play sport outside and he ALWAYS wore a hat when mowing the lawn. You would sooner find my dad sitting inside with a group of friends enjoying a beer, than being outside under the sun's glare.
Now my entire family is very aware of our skin and we all made promises to dadwe would be vigilant with our skin checks.
So, to say I was "over the moon" this week when I read a group of Queensland researchers had developed a highly accurate online skin cancer test that can identify people at high risk of melanoma in 90 seconds, would be somewhat of an understatement. It's a very easy test and the questions are so simple to answer. Granted, it is only an estimate of your risk of developing melanoma and I cannot say enough times "GET YOUR SKIN CHECKED", but it is a start and it may just remind people you can never be too wary when it comes to you body.
Life is precious, Dad's death taught me that. I believe one day we will beat all types of cancer, but until then, check your skin and get to know your body. Don't be afraid or ashamed to go to a doctor if something just isn't right. You are the best judge when something is wrong and your body will usually send you little clues. Maybe we all just need to learn to listen a little harder, because tomorrow is promised to no one.