Cath doesn’t remember a time where she wasn’t playing outside as a child. Whether she was swimming at New Lambton pool or visiting her grandmother’s house at Stockton beach on the weekends and holidays, she was always out in the sun.
"I spent 6 months of the year outside and back then we didn’t wear protective clothing or sunscreen, so I got a lot of sun exposure in my younger years," Cath said.
Cath was 12 when her dad was diagnosed with his first melanoma and began his 25 yearlong battle with this horrible disease.
"From the age of 50 to 75 dad had 12 melanomas removed. We were lucky to have him as long as we did when you think about it," Cath said.
However, Cath's melanoma story doesn’t end there. After losing her dad, Cath was recommended to the Melanoma Unit by her skin doctor and from there Cath went in for 3 monthly skin checks.
It was then that her doctor picked up her first melanoma on her back. After getting the 5-year clearance from her first melanoma Cath noticed a red spot on her shoulder and her husband noticed a mole on her back, right near where the existing mole was located. After a biopsy on both spots the doctor regretfully told her that they were also melanomas. Cath now has one monthly skin checks and is extremely vigilant of her skin.
"I am one of 7 children and out of 7 of us 4 have had melanomas. My dad’s brother is currently in the hospital with a melanoma and my mother has had 3 removed. Our lives have certainly been touched by this horrible disease," Cath said.
Cath's relationship with sun protection and early detection has changed dramatically since her younger years and urges everyone to constantly check and protect their skin.'
"It wasn’t until I had my first melanoma removed that I looked at the statistics in the Hunter and it is scary to see how many incidences we have here, particularly in the younger generation. It's just so important if you detect anything to get it checked," Cath said.