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Crazed in the hot zone: Cancer, Capri and getting your moles checked

“It was on the Isle of Capri that I found her, beneath the shade of an old walnut tree.” – Frank Sinatra

My parents are both celebrating their birthdays back in Blighty this week, still very together, still very Sagittarian.

Ever since I can remember I’ve always been slightly over-proud of my mother’s incredibly dominant Greek and Native American bloodlines. In physical terms, this means I tan incredibly easily, have few wrinkles and look absolutely nothing like my 100% British/Welsh father. First world problems, eh.

Now I have a more important reason to be thankful for such ancestral exotica. A few weeks back I clambered out of our jacuzzi on the Isle of Capri (a little gated community near Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast), and my housemate Jing noticed that a mole at the top of my left shoulder seemed to be larger than usual.

I started to worry I’d not slapped on the sunscreen enough during my first year Down Under. I do sometimes go a little crazed in the hot zone and venture outside au naturel — though, happily, due to the dark skinned heritage I can withstand going unprotected for far longer than most people. 

 So on the advice of local locum Gavin Mills (left in the main pic at Kurrawa Park) I booked into the Molescan Skin HQ clinic at Queen Street, Southport, and I’m pleased and extremely relieved to report that Dr Fietz gave me a completely clean bill of health.

Apparently, the non-English genes and cancer-free family history* mean my sister and I are in the lowest possible risk group, though with the massive hole in the ozone layer hovering directly above Queensland I’m still not taking any chances. 

Australia has the highest cases of skin cancer in the world for a reason, so slather on that sunscreen, cobbers. They don’t call it the sunburned country for nowt.

Steve Pafford

First posted: Facebook, December 2014

*In 2016 that cancer-free family history was no more when my aunt Julia was diagnosed just as I arrived in California to spend Thanksgiving with her. She sadly passed in 2019

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