‘Stupid’ reason WAG can’t wear bikini again
When doctors successfully removed a melanoma from Rachael Lee's stomach it might have seemed like her skin cancer concerns were over.
But in reality the personal trainer and fiancee of former NRL player Braith Anasta will have to spend the rest of her life cautious after doctors found over 250 "suspicious" moles scattered across her body.
The mum has been told she can never wear a bikini at the beach, can't spend time outdoors from 10am to 4pm and must commit to skin check ups every three months for the rest of her life.
While Rachael "couldn't care less" about not being able to wear a bikini, living in the Sydney beachside suburb of Coogee means that she has to make some serious lifestyle adjustments.
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"It's not about me wearing a bikini," she told news.com.au. "It's more just me not being able to go (outdoors) between those hours and having to do indoor activities.
"It's hard when you have three kids, you let down your kids in that way. It's summer time, they want to be outside."
Since she was around 20 Rachael, now 33, had been getting skin check-ups yearly, however, skipped her one last year because of the birth of her daughter Gigi.
When she went for her check-up five weeks ago her dermatologist flagged a mole "that looked a little off" on her stomach for a biopsy - but assured the mum it would probably be nothing.
But when he called her a few days later Rachael immediately knew something was wrong.
"I wasn't even worried, I just thought that it was for precaution and then about a week later he called me and he said, 'can you just sit down?' and I was like, 'oh no'," she said.
A week later Rachael went to the Melanoma Institute Australia where she had a wide incision made around where the cancerous mole had been.
While the melanoma has been successfully removed, the scary incident has made Rachael realise just how lucky she was after spending years in the sun, unconcerned about skin cancer.
Like most Australians Rachael enjoyed a carefree upbringing with lots of outdoors sports and Christmas family gatherings spent at the beach.
"I used to play heaps of sports and I would never wear sunscreen," she said.
She remembers sometimes burning and then peeling, but because Rachael would tan afterwards wrongly assumed she had a low chance of getting skin cancer.
"I feel like you don't worry about it as much because you feel like if you tan easy, (and say) 'I've got olive skin, I'll be fine'," Rachael said.
"But it's so naive and so stupid to think like that."
Unable to wear a bikini Rachael stumbled across full-coverage swimwear brand AZYA on Instagram and is now an ambassador for the sun safe beach wear.
"It's fully covered so it's UV and UVB protection and it's long-sleeved, goes up to your neck. It's actually really beautiful," she said.
Rachael hopes that by sharing her story more young people will be conscious of the danger the sun poses and get their skin checked.
"Everyone around me I've told get your skin checked," she said.
"Even Braith, he had never had a skin check in his life … then he had to get two precancerous moles cut out, I said imagine if you didn't get that checked?"
Originally published as 'Stupid' reason WAG can't wear bikini again