As part of Albion in the Community’s (AITC) on-going Speak Up Against Cancer campaign, its health team is asking people to pay particular attention to their moles – and to encourage friends and family to do the same.
For Lisa, who lives in Worthing, she has a particular reason to be thankful that her daughter did just that.
According to Lisa, her daughter Abby is a nag – but in the best possible way.
She explained: “Abby had noticed a very dark mole at the top of my left arm when we were in New Look changing room early last year. As I am fair skinned and freckly, I don’t have many moles and this one stood out. She kept telling me to go and get it checked out but I have an ongoing health condition which means I go to the doctors quite a bit – I didn’t want to bother them again.”
When Lisa later noticed a Facebook post about a mole check clinic taking place just down the road from her one Saturday morning she felt it was the right time, right place to get this checked out. “Even then, I nearly didn’t go,” she said. “I knew I should but didn’t want to have confirmed what I felt inside – that this mole was not normal.
As soon as Lisa saw the consultant dermatologist he noticed some suspect blue tinges around her mole – a notable change from its usual colour.
The doctor took photos of the mole and gave Lisa a form to take to her GP. She was referred to a dermatology clinic and at her appointment the following week it was confirmed the mole looked like a malignant melanoma – a very serious form of skin cancer.
Lisa had an ultrasound to check under her arms which thankfully showed no spread of the cancer. She readily admits she cried with relief.
An operation to remove the mole was scheduled for the following week, which was followed by one further operation to ensure everything was removed. Despite the need for surgery, Lisa is incredibly glad the cancer was found and dealt with so quickly.
She believes her skin cancer was due to a bad sunburn she had in 1978, aged 10. “I knew that I was at higher risk of skin cancer because of my fair skin and light coloured eyes,” she said, “but I honestly never thought it would happen to me.
“I would say to anyone with any worries about moles or other skin issues: go and see your GP. You are not wasting your time and it could save your life.
“I am so grateful to my lovely daughter for nagging me into getting it checked out and to the doctors for spotting it and treating me so well.”
Lisa is now joining our health team in encouraging others to learn the signs and symptoms of skin cancers and what changes to their moles should instigate a GP visit.
For more information visit: www.speakupagainstcancer.org/skin-cancer.
And while you are there, go to the competition page to enter a free prize draw to win a signed Brighton & Hove Albion shirt.