A 24 year old from Australia is pleading with other young women to take more precautions in the sun after being diagnosed with terminal skin cancer.
Emma Betts, who was born in Brisbane, Queensland, is suffering from a Stage 4 melanoma, and has been given just months to live.
Emma, who has shared her story on her blog Dear Melanoma since June 2014, warns other girls her age; ‘It can happen to you, it happened to me. I am 24 and dying of skin cancer.’
Emma’s story is proof of how important it is to check your moles
The former international aid worker was first diagnosed with the melanoma after a stranger pointed out a strange mole on her back while she was scuba diving in East Timor.
At the time her dermatologist was optimistic as the initial mole was still small, only 0.6mm and very thin, with the chance of it returning to be problematic was only 5%.
It was a year later when Emma found a lump under her arm, that she became concerned; ‘Within a week a biopsy was taken. Although all the signs were there this was again melanoma, nothing prepared me for what the doctor told me – I had Stage 3 Melanoma.’
Faced with this terrifying prognosis, Emma married her boyfriend Serge, they travelled on a pre-wedding honeymoon to Bali, and extended their family with a puppy, Ralph.
Today Emma is still working tirelessly to persuade others to be more sun safe, especially in her home of Australia.
Emma said; ‘The last week I have felt helpless and frustrated with people that know me well and are close friends still feel the need to tan – at least attempt to hide it from my view!’
‘Do these make you as angry as they make me? The ‘it’s not going to happen to me’ mentality is so hard to break.’
Since her treatment began Emma has raised over $70k for the Melanoma Institute of Australia.