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I lost my dad to skin cancer then this tiny mole turned out to be melanoma

0 3 months ago

WHEN Louise Hay lost her dad to skin cancer last year, she vowed to always be on the look out for any changes in her moles.

But she was shocked when what she thought was just a small freckle on her leg turned out to be melanoma – the deadliest form of the disease.

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Louise Hay was shocked when a tiny ‘freckle’ on her leg turned out to be deadly skin cancer[/caption]

The lifestyle blogger, from Sydney, Australia, is now warning others to get their moles checked routinely.

Speaking on her Instagram Stories, she said: “I never thought it would have happened to me until my dad got diagnosed last year.

“It’s crazy to think I never would have gone for a skin check and I never would have found the melonma had my dad not gotten sick.

“It’s like he’s still looking after me from up there – it blows my mind.”

She added: “I know everyone thinks they’re invincible and it’s never going to happen to them but please go and get your skin checked.

“If you catch it early, it’s fine.”

Routine check

She later shared a picture of the insignificant-looking mole on her shin and another snap showing the large scar in its place after having it removed.

Louise went onto explain that the mole was detected by her doctors during an annual skin check up in June.

She said that the mole was removed and sent off to be tested before they could confirm it was a melanoma.

“Last week was my one year check up and they found a little mole on my leg which they removed and sent off to get checked, to find out what it was, and yesterday I found out it was a melanoma.”

In this image, she points to the tiny mole that turned out to be melanoma

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She had to have more skin from around the mole removed and has been left with a nasty scar[/caption]

What is melanoma and how to spot the signs

The most common sign is a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than one colour.

The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or bleed.

Look out for a mole which changes progressively in shape, size and/or colour.

The ABCDE checklist should help you tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma:

  • Asymmetrical – melanomas have 2 very different halves and are an irregular shape
  • Border – melanomas have a notched or ragged border
  • Colours – melanomas will be a mix of 2 or more colours
  • Diameter – most melanomas are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter
  • Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma

Source: NHS

Louise was told the mole was a ‘grade zero’ which means that it’s on the surface of the skin and can be easily removed.

But they wanted to removed more skin from around where it had been to cut out any potentially remaining cancerous cells.

“I didn’t see that there was anything wrong with that particular mole – it just looked like a freckle to me, honestly, it was so small.

“The place that I go to does skin mapping, so they take a picture of every single mole on your body and in the next appointment they do the exact same thing and they compare it and that’s how they can check if there’s been any changes.”

Tragic loss

Louise’s dad Donald Hay died on July 17 from melanoma at the age of 76.

It’s the most deadliest form of skin cancer – with around 16,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK every year, or 44 every day.

There are around 2,300 melanoma skin cancer deaths annually – that’s more than six every day.

Despite the risks, many Brits are still clueless when it comes to spotting the signs of skin cancer – dismissing changes to moles, and new blemishes as harmless.

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Louise with her dad Donald Hay, who died from melanoma last year, aged 76[/caption]

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Louise is a lifestyle influencer and Australian socialite[/caption]

Caught early, skin cancer has a good survival rate – 90 per cent if the disease is detected at stage one.

And experts estimate 86 per cent of cases are preventable.

It’s why the Sun launched the Dying for a Tan campaign – to raise awareness of the dangers the sun can pose.

Matthew Gass, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: “You should regularly check your skin for signs of skin cancer, particularly changes to the skin, or get a partner to help.

“It can sometimes be tricky to be sure about changes on your skin so you can always take pictures on your phone to compare against.

DYING FOR A TAN

There are an estimated 7,000 tanning salons in Britain, with some offering sessions from as little as 50p a minute.

Kids as young as EIGHT are using sunbeds, with seemingly little understanding they are playing Russian Roulette with their health.

According to Cancer Research UK, Melanoma skin cancer risk is 16-25 per cent higher in people who have used a sunbed (at any age), compared to people who have never used sunbeds.

This is because sunbeds pelt the skin with such strong UV rays which increase the risk of developing malignant melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer.

Just 20 minutes on one is comparable to four hours in the sun – with many stronger than Mediterranean rays at midday.

In many cases the damage is invisible until it’s too late, as it can take up to 20 years to become apparent.

Around 16,000 new melanoma skin cancer cases are diagnosed in the UK every year – that’s 44 every day.

There are around 2,300 melanoma skin cancer deaths annually – that’s more than six every day.

It’s part of the reason the World Health Organisation has deemed sunbeds are as dangerous as smoking.

This is why Fabulous says it is time to stop Dying For A Tan.

“Skin cancer isn’t something that just arises from moles, so keep an eye on any changes to your skin, and speak to your doctor if you are unsure.”

He added that the ABCDE rules describe a few changes that might indicate a melanoma:

  • A – asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape or colour
  • B – border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
  • C – colour – this may be uneven. Several different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen
  • D – diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor
  • E – evolution – if you see progressive changes in size, shape or colour over weeks or a few months, you must seek expert help

Mr Gass added: “For non-melanoma skin cancers, which are very common, there can be quite a bit of variety in how they look.

“Non-melanoma skin cancers can occur on any part of the body but are most common on areas of skin that are most often exposed to the sun such as your head and neck (including lips and ears) and the backs of your hands.


“They can also appear where the skin has been damaged such as old scars, ulcers, burns, X-ray damage or persistent wounds.

“They may appear gradually on the skin and will get bigger over time. They will not go away on their own without treatment.

“If in doubt, check it out. If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a dermatologist. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.”

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