There's No Such Thing as a Safe Suntan with Melanoma Survivor Jess Van Zeil

Best selling author of her book Eye Won, resilience expert, coach, speaker and melanoma survivor Jess Van Zeil is on the podcast with an important reminder leading into summer that there is no such thing as a safe suntan!


At the age of 21, Jess had a decision to make, lose her eye or lose her life to the relentless melanoma. She thought she had won until they realised it had returned to her brain. After emergency brain surgery she had to learn to walk and move freely again. This is her story.


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In this beautiful chat with Jess, we talk about:

  • How damaging and even life-threatening societies beauty standards can be

  • How important it is to diversify your social media

  • Jess's PATCH Method

  • Mind shifts for building resilience

  • Focusing on the good

  • Turning failures into lessons

  • Transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk

  • Finding positive friends and mentors

  • And of course, how to stay safe in the sun


Find Jess

About Jess


Jess Van Zeil is a survivor with a positive attitude.


At 21 Jess was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer. For eight months everything seemed to be moving along easily and it looked like we had beaten it with a few localised surgeries. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse, and in the space of 2 months, Jess went from being given the all-clear to being told that cancer had returned so aggressively that she had two options either remove the eye and close over the eye socket for good or give in to it and have less than five years to live.


"I realised I really could do anything I put my mind to! From there I spent the next 7 months in and out of the hospital, on treatment and learning to walk and eventually run again. It was an emotional journey filled with a lot of frustration but every day I focused on being grateful, for the people around me, the opportunities I have been given and the life I have lived."


Powerfully positive, ridiculously resilient


Jess is now shifting her focus to help others to realise that there is always a positive to be found in every situation no matter how bad it may seem at the time.


Jess says "my life has changed dramatically since I pursued a career as a speaker at the start of 2016. I am still faced with hurdles but my scans have consistently shown that the cancer has been stable and unchanged since I started treatment in October."


"We can’t change the hand we have been dealt but we can certainly change the way we deal with it. I’m living my life to the fullest by being powerfully positive and ridiculously resilient."
- Jess Van Zeil


Getting a suntan


Getting a tan means there has been an increase in skin pigment, called melanin, which causes the tan colour change in your skin which is a sign of damage. The FDA warns there is no such thing as a safe tan. Click here to learn more about the risks of tanning.


Jess is a Stage IV Ocular Melanoma Survivor and says "every time you lay our in the sun you increase your risk of skin cancer and melanoma. Need we go on?"


Seriously though, do you really need any more convincing?


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