Most terrifying time of MP life
Waiting to speak with his doctor, he says at that point he knew he had a skin cancer but didn’t know what stage it was.
While the good news was that the cancer was a grade one melanoma, meaning it was less than one millimetre deep, its location on his shin led to surgery requiring 57 stitches.
Less than a week after wondering if the mole needed checking, he underwent an operation which left a scar on his leg looking like he’d been bitten by a shark.
However Mr Clare is quick to point out that melanoma is much more dangerous, taking the lives of about 1,500 people each year while sharks kill an average of one Australian a year.
Mr Clare says he was just lucky that he had an earlier photograph of the mole and noticed the change, and most importantly that he followed up with an appointment with his doctor.
“Blokes are typically pretty terrible about those sorts of things,” he said.
“What happened to me, being diagnosed with melanoma, happens to someone in Australia every half an hour.
“And worse still, every five hours someone dies from melanoma.”
Away from his job as a federal parliamentarian for two weeks, he admits the scare has made him appreciate how fragile life is and just how important is his family.
“That’s the most terrifying part, that I might not have seen my little boy grow up,” he said.
“My message from all of this is that no-one is going to look after your health more than you will. That means not just being smart outside in the sun, but also just checking your skin regularly.”