Treasurer Jim Chalmers has revealed he was scared of skin cancer and warned Australians to be vigilant with their health.
Mr Chalmers said he was diagnosed with melanoma on his chest in late 2020 and is now speaking out to raise awareness.
“To be honest, I was one of those very smug guys; When you grow up in Queensland during the summer holidays, you rarely wear a t-shirt, have very little sunscreen on, and therefore get a little complacent about the sun,” he said on 2CC.
“I got particularly smug about a mark on my chest that had been there for a while.”
Mr Chalmers only allowed himself to be seen while he was in the doctor’s office.
“As he pounded a script into me on his keyboard, I said to him, ‘What are you thinking about this on my chest?'” he said.
“I could tell by his face and what he said later that I needed to get it checked out.
“I did and it was melanoma and I had to have it hacked out of my chest.”
After the melanoma was surgically removed, Mr Chalmers said he suffered from some post-surgical “dramas” following its discovery.
“Even in Question Time, at one point I had a little pump on my chest and a few other similar things,” he said.
“For me, I’ve really had a good few months to reflect on what it means to take better care of myself and be more mindful of my health. Like many Australians, I’m much better at it.”
Mr Chalmers said he was acutely aware of how bad things could have been had he not checked the mark.
“People die from skin cancer, but it’s also a very common thing and luckily it’s becoming more common for people to find it early enough to do something about it,” he said.
“It can obviously be life threatening if you don’t make it in time and although I left mine late, I got in with the help of the doctor and surgeon to sort it out in time.”
He has now asked Australians to do more for their health.
“We cannot be complacent about these things; We have to have those checks, we have to put on the sunscreen and the rashie and the hats,” he said.
“A lot of us are very good at it when it comes to our kids, but when it comes to our own health, going to the pool or going to the beach or going for a jog or whatever, we have to be really sun smart. ”
Originally posted as treasurer, Jim Chalmers reveals melanoma diagnosis