Annoying itch was a life saver
TWENTY years ago, an itch under her bra strap saved Trisha Jones' life.
The Valla resident said a small spot on her back which itched and looked like a blood blister sent her to her doctor to have treatment.
The 'blood blister' proved to be a malignant melanoma and led to a major operation which left Mrs Jones with 'dreadful, ugly scars', not only from the removal of skin from her back and side, including her left lymph gland, but on her thigh where surgeons took skin to repair her body. But thanks to early and drastic surgery at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital, she survived and also escaped chemotherapy.
"The doctors said if it had been an inch or so closer to my spine, there would have been nothing they could do," Mrs Jones said.
She said she was lucky to be living in a capital city at the time her melanoma was diagnosed and wondered what her chances would have been if she had been living in Valla at that time?
Mrs Jones had a classic coastal melanoma case.
The former Queenslander said she ran around in halter tops, sunbathed in a bikini on the beach, rubbed baby oil into her shoulders, surfed and swam.
"I feel very fortunate and I live every day," she said.
"But I shudder when I see beach scenes on TV, where (girls) are wearing those thongs that show the buttocks and what they use to hold up their boobs is not worth talking about.
"That makes me feel very, very sad. We didn't know any better but the education is there now for them to listen to if they want to."
Mrs Jones, who is not only a member of Valla's feisty dance troupe, the Vallerinas, but also a member of the Valla Lions Club, said she and her club had already raised money for the cancer patient and carers' lodge, Shearwater Lodge, and would be very interested in helping to raise funds for equipment to treat skin cancer at the new North Coast Cancer Institute.