Collie skin cancer sufferer urges safety first in sun after hundreds of surgeries

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
Dr Hendrick Tan inspects Laurence Cain’s latest excision site.
Camera IconDr Hendrick Tan inspects Laurence Cain’s latest excision site. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore

With the weather warming up and people heading out to enjoy the sunshine, a Collie resident is asking people to be sun smart while outside, plus get a skin-check.

Laurence Cain, 60, has had more than 200 skin cancers removed since his teens and is still undergoing treatment.

He hopes by sharing his story for Skin Cancer Action Week it might save someone else’s life.

He was treated for his first skin cancer at just 17 years old, finding even more lesions in his 30s.

“My skin didn’t look right, so I decided to have it checked by my GP,” Mr Cain said.

“He found several suspicious looking lesions. I had them biopsied and it turns out they were non-melanoma skin cancers.”

Mr Cain is living with the region’s most common cancer — non-melanoma skin cancer — which affects all aspects of his life.

And he is not alone. More than 76,000 of these cancers are treated in Australia every year.

“It’s not just a tiny dot on your skin, it’s a lot more complicated,” he said.

The fair-skinned amateur photo-grapher avoids sunlight, waking at 4.30am, spending the days indoors, and only going outside again in the evening.

He also undergoes regular treatment at GenesisCare Bunbury, which has new Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy, which centre oncologist Dr Hendrick Tan said can help with early interventions.

“Now cancers like Mr Cain’s can be treated early in non-invasive, personalised ways,” Dr Tan said.

Mr Cain lost his brother and his mother to cancer and hopes others catch any skin changes early.

“Get it earlier rather than later,” Mr Cain said.

“Because once it comes, it’s just ongoing after that.”

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