Posted by Cairin: September 2012
When Michelle was in her early 20s, she was unaware of the dangers involved in solarium use and used sunbeds frequently as she thought it was a safe way to get a tan.
She never sunbaked or spent long periods outdoors on the beach as she doesn't like the heat but a few minutes in a solarium appealed to her. From the age of 20–25 years, she would go every few weeks, and estimates she visited a solarium 20–40 times over five years.
When she was 36, she was diagnosed with melanoma on her back.
"I was very lucky that it was caught early enough and only needed surgery. I now have regular three-monthly checks and pretty much hibernate over summer to avoid the sun. I have no doubt that my melanoma was a result of my solarium usage."
"If only I knew then what I know now. The dangers weren't really known in the 90s. It was considered (incorrectly) the safe way to tan. I am totally shocked that people use them today and I completely support a ban in Victoria."
When she told her people about her melanoma, she was surprised at their reactions.
"Many of my friends didn't think it was serious and I couldn't believe their ‘cut it out and it will be right' attitudes. Melanoma takes the lives of 1,400 Australians every year and is the most common cancer in the 15–44 age group. Skin cancer is serious."
"I was really surprised that none of my friends had ever had a skin check and since my experience I've encouraged many of them to have them. I have regular checks and I keep an eye on my skin so I will notice changes quickly. It's important that Australians get to know their skin and get it checked regularly."