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Biggest loser wins melanoma battle

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Shannan Ponton, fitness expert and coach from The Biggest Loser, reminds Aussies to use sun protection after his own brush with melanoma

With summer coming, why should you consider upping your sun protection and skincare game?

“I had never really thought much about wearing sunscreen,” says Shannon Ponton.

“I’d just come back from two weeks in Bali and my wife saw a spot on the back of my leg, near my bum, that wasn’t there before.”

He says the doctor checked it out and it ended up being melanoma—and he’s so grateful it was caught in time, with melanoma being the most aggressive skin cancer, responsible for about 70% of all skin cancer deaths.

“If it hadn’t been caught, chances are I might not have lived to see my son’s fifth birthday. So it’s really important to get your skin checked. After that happened I held a big BBQ—kind of an intervention—and I told all my mates who came, seriously, to get their skin checked.

“Of all my mates that were there and got their skin checked, two of them had melanomas and that probably saved their life.”

Shannan reminds people to get their skin checked regularly to catch any skin cancer in time.

He now makes sure to wear sunscreen whenever he’s out and stays aware of the risks.

“I thought those ads on the side of buses were just scare tactics – but they’re 100% real. I’m no angel now, but I make sure that if I take my shirt off for example that I need 50+ sun protection,” he says.

“I live an active lifestyle and I want something that will give me protection. The way I’ve lived my life for the kids will pay dividends in years to come. They wear rashies and there’s always sun cream.”

“If we can prevent just one Shannon, just one melanoma, then it’s worth it,” says Alan Oppenheim, Ego pharmaceuticals’ managing director, which manufactures the SunSense sunscreen range.

“It’s never too late to start sun protection. Even if you’re older, it’s never too late.

“Wearing a sufficient amount of 50+ sunscreen every day is allowing your skin to repair itself, repair the DNA. At Ego we focus on preventing skin cancer through sunscreens like SunSense.”

Alan also suggests combining a broad-brimmed hat with SPF 50+ sunscreen, which doubles your sun protection.

“It’s never too early to start sun protection either,” says Carole Renouf, CEO of the Melanoma Institute Australia.

“Before puberty is really important, especially intense sun exposure, so not getting burned.

Carole points out that the most common site for melanoma in men is on the back, while for women it’s on the calves.

The event was hosted by Ego Pharmaceuticals and the Melanoma Institute Australia.

(L-R above top): Shannan Ponton, Carole Renouf, Alan Oppenheim and host Pete Lazer.



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