Trouble was staring Lisa Wilkinson right between her eyes – but it was her husband Peter FitzSimons who spotted it.
Today show host Lisa Wilkinson is on a mission to raise skin cancer awareness after discovering a mark on her face she’d always assumed was “just a freckle” turned out to be a potentially cancerous melanoma. “I probably noticed it 20 years ago and just saw it as part of what my face looked like,” Lisa tells Woman’s Day. “It’s laughable that I could have a camera trained on me for 3.5 hours a day, five days a week, and I could not spot trouble right between my eyes.”
It was Lisa’s hubby, broadcaster and writer Peter FitzSimons, who first noticed all was not right and urged his wife to visit a doctor to get things checked out. And for a man who Lisa admits “wouldn’t notice if I put on 20kg overnight”, his keen skills of observation might have saved her life. “I came home from work one day and, typically, coming off the set of the show, I had a full face of make-up on. Pete looked at me and said, ‘What’s that between your eyebrows?’, and I, thinking it was a bit of dirt or misplaced mascara, said, ‘My freckle? That’s been there for years!’” explains Lisa.
“God love him, he never looks at me with a critical eye. He would love me in any shape that I come in, thank heaven. But, importantly, he just noticed this freckle for the first time, and I tried to convince him that it had been there for a long time, and he said, ‘Well, if it’s been there for a long time and I haven’t noticed it, it must be getting darker.’”
After weeks of Peter’s nagging, Lisa gave in and went to see her GP, who then referred her to a dermatologist. “He [the dermatologist] had a look under this specialist microscope and said, ‘The cells do look irregular’,” Lisa recalls. “He said, ‘I need to cut it out and do a biopsy.’” Doctors removed the freckle while she was on a production break from Today over Christmas. The presenter ended up with four stitches and had to endure a tense wait before she got the results back. The news wasn’t good.
Read more about Lisa's cancer scare in this week's Woman’s Day on sale Monday July 16, 2012.
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