- Australian model and influencer Oceana Strachan, 26, is continuing to raise awareness for skin cancer with a very real look at her melanoma surgery scars.
- Melanoma is a skin cancer that starts in the cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color. It’s also considered the deadliest form of skin cancer.
- Melanoma can develop from an existing mole, like in Strachan’s case, or appear as a dark or pink growth on the skin, even on, or in, parts of the body that never see the sun.
In a recent Instagram post, the new mother-to-be: “I am very lucky that all I’m left with is a scar. Early detection is what saved my life.”Read More
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“Being on my ankle it was quite a tight area to stitch up, I was very lucky to not need skin grafting and as you can see the scar has stretched a little but that’s my fault for getting back on my feet too soon after surgery.”
Her battle with stage 2 melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, began in 2019 when she noticed a small freckle on her ankle began to change shape and size. She admitted to putting off getting it checked out because of the Covid-19 pandemic, as so many others did, too.
Even though she had the foresight to eventually seek out a biopsy for the freckle, Strachan told Yahoo that she was completely shocked it turned out to be cancer.
She now uses her massive platform — she has more than 173,000 followers on Instagram — to push skin cancer awareness and skin safety, particularly making sure her followers are aware that they need to use sunscreen. She also wants to make it clear that she can still enjoy the sun, she just does it safely now.
“My feelings towards spending time in the sun after having a melanoma removed has definitely shifted,” she posted to Instagram last year. “I’m more aware of applying/reapplying SPF and having a coverup on hand is important to me especially if I can’t find shade. But the refreshing sense of a salty swim will never change for me, it’s the best!!!!”
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How to Protect Your Skin From Skin Cancer
Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon and associate at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, previously told SurvivorNet that protecting your skin is easy with these simple steps:
- Sun avoidance during peak hours: This means from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It doesn’t mean you should never go outside during the middle of the day, but make sure you’re protected when you go outdoors.
- Cover your skin and eyes: Wearing a wide brim hat or sunglasses will protect your face, the top of your head, your ears and the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Wear an SPF of 30 or higher: Plenty of facial moisturizers have SPF built into them. Dr. Engelman recommends reapplying every few hours, or after excessive sweating or swimming.
- Get an annual skin check: If you happen to notice anything out of the ordinary in between checks, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
- No-go to tanning beds: Tanning beds can significantly increase your risk of developing melanoma. If you feel like you’re just too pale, Dr. Engelman recommends a sunless tanner.
Melanoma is a skin cancer that starts in the cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color.
“Melanomas are the deadliest type of skin cancer because they have a tendency to spread to other parts of the body,” Dr. Anna Pavlick, an oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet.
Melanoma can develop from an existing mole, like in Strachan’s case, or appear as a dark or pink growth on the skin, even on, or in, parts of the body that never see the sun.
Paying attention to moles or growths on your skin is an easy way to keep an eye out for melanoma — the same message Strachan is promoting. Discovering changes to an existing mole or a new growth on your skin can be signs of this cancer, according to SurvivorNet experts.
Spots on your skin can be harmless, but it is important to monitor them and contact your doctor if you find cause for concern. Using sunscreen regularly can also lower your risk of developing melanoma.
Contributing: Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore