The Skin Clinic in Halls Head will host a free skin check day, as well as a Melanoma March to raise awareness and support in fighting the debilitating disease.
Melanoma WA founder Clinton Heal visited the clinic to talk with skin specialists and clients about the clinic’s important place in the community.
“This is a specialized, direct service that’s open to everyone,” Mr Heal said.
“It used to be a fairly laborious process – your GP would check, and then probably refer you to someone.
The Skin Clinic is a direct, affordable way for people to get checked.”
In 2005, at the age of 22, Mr Heal was diagnosed with a stage 4 metastatic melanoma, and given a 10 per cent chance of surviving two years.
Almost 12 years later, Mr Heal is still living with Melanoma, but because of a lack of information when he was diagnosed, now travels around the state spreading the message of proper sun protection.
“It’s all about getting the message out there, about making sure that people know there’s plenty of people out there with skin cancer, and they are looking for a quality of life, just like everyone else.
“Not too long ago, melanoma was seen as a death sentence. But now that’s changing, technology and treatments are evolving, and the work done by professionals, friends and family in helping survivors should be recognised.
It’s a proactive approach to cancer. Instead of building up the obstacles, we’re showing that people do survive, and that they have a chance at living a long and good life.”
Melanoma survivor and Skin Clinic client Heather Edmonds said the aid that had been given to her by the clinic and Melanoma WA were indispensable.
“We’ve been able to build a support network that meets regularly,” she said.
“I think the greatest boon that’s granted us is confidence in handling the disease.
“Just knowing there are people who know what you’re going through, and can commiserate with you as well as laugh with you, is very important I think.”
The Skin Clinic, located at 3 Peelwood Parade, will hold a free skin check day on March 11. Make sure to bring your Medicare card.
The Melanoma March, to be held at Keith Holmes Reserve on Sunday March 26, is a fun community event where participants can run 10kms or walk/march along a 5km course to raise awareness and funds for support, education and research.
Register to march at melanomamarch.org.au