Premiership Lion shares skin cancer fight

By Sarah Black – AFL Media

Brisbane premiership midfielder Emily Bates has spoken about her latest brush with skin cancer, sharing the message that prevention is key.

The 25-year-old native Queenslander revealed on her Instagram account she had undergone another round of BCC (basal cell carcinoma) removal on her scalp, three years after her first bout.

“Three years ago, I had my first skin check with a dermatologist and from there he actually found six or seven BCCs, which is quite a lot for someone at the age of 22,” she told

“So, from there, I’ve had quite a few little surgeries to remove them along the way. And it’s just this [area] where I used to part my hair as a kid, which is definitely my problem area, so I’ve had it cut away twice.

“They’re quite tricky, because some of them sort of carry legs, and really spread out into the skin. So you might get it removed, but if they miss part of those legs, it’ll come back a few years later. It’s really important to get your skin checked regularly because they do come back.”

Bates said BCCs generally grow at a slower rate than melanomas but can end up affecting a fair portion of skin if not removed early.

For a time, Bates played in a lightweight long-sleeve guernsey, given AFLW is played in summer.

“My experience has skin cancer has definitely changed the way I train and play. I used to not wear sunscreen that much and head out to the sun and go to the beach with friends, but now I make sure I have sunscreen on in every single training session, and a visor or cap on.

“I think the team sport makes it so much easier to be sun safe. You know, there’s sunscreen bottles everywhere we go, it’s on the track, in the change room, and even on game day there’s zinc everywhere and everyone’s putting it on, so I think everyone’s getting on board that sun safety message.”

Get to know your skin, and if you notice anything unusual, visit your doctor as soon as possible. 

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