Australians fostered the image of sun-loving beings, but we have been moving away from that over the past three decades.
Gone are the images of sun-baked skin, shining with tanning oil, that were so prevalent in the 70s and 80s.
They have been replaced with sun-smart campaigns showing people wearing hats and covering their skin.
Lizzie May was one of the many people who worshipped the sun when they were younger, admitting she had burnt skin “every other day”.
However, since her melanoma diagnosis, Ms May has become a fierce advocate for skin cancer awareness.
Cancer Council Tasmania said melanoma was a skin cancer that usually occurred on the parts of the body that had been overexposed to the sun.
“Melanoma risk increases with exposure to UV radiation from the sun or other sources such as solariums, particularly with episodes of sunburn (especially during childhood),” the organisation said.
It is is the third most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.
Australia and New Zealand share the dubious honour of being the countries with the world’s highest incidence rate for melanoma.
In 2014, more than 13,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in Australia, which accounts for almost one in 10 cancer diagnoses.
There were 1520 deaths due to melanoma in Australia in 2015, Cancer Council Tasmania research shows.
“Melanoma is more commonly diagnosed in men than women. The risk of being diagnosed with melanoma by age 85 is 1 in 13 for men compared to 1 in 22 for women,” the organisation said.
Ms May’s daughter Angie Durrant has organised the Launceston Melanoma March on March 3 at Heritage Forest.
As well as raising awareness about skin cancer and how dangerous sun exposure can be via the Melanoma March, Ms May and Ms Durrant are fundraising for melanoma research in the hope it impacts less families in the future.