Lifestyle

Skin cancer fighter Cherith warns kids to cover up

Cherith Weis has recently had a skin cancer removed and warns people to stay covered up when out in the sun. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Cherith Weis has recently had a skin cancer removed and warns people to stay covered up when out in the sun. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

CHERITH Weis has "lost count" of the number of skin cancers she's had removed.

Now she is begging teenagers to listen to the slip, slop, slap message.

Growing up in Toowoomba, Cherith said she played lots of outdoor sports, never wore a hat and used coconut oil lotion to tan.

She's paying the price.

"When I think of what we put our skin through in our day, I shudder," Cherith said.

"Sunscreen wasn't thought of then."

For more than 20 years, Cherith has been treated for skin cancers with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas cut out of her chest, leg and face.

Cherith said the damage was due to those early years in the sun.

She said it was common among people her age to have skin cancers removed.

While Cherith wanted to warn older people not to ignore signs they may have a skin cancer, she also hopes today's teenagers start covering up.

"Please listen to the message," Cherith said.

"Don't say it can't happen to you."

Cherith said preventing the painful removal of skin cancers was worth more than a good tan.

But she's pleased to see the sun safety message getting through to kids at school.

After having skin cancers removed from her nose, Cherith has also had several skin grafts.

She said patience was the only way to deal with the healing process of the grafts.

Before the first dressing is removed, Cherith said she wasn't allowed to shower, get her hair wet or bend her head forward.

In the end, she said it was a painful answer to not covering up outside.

Topics:  cancer council, skin cancer



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