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Young woman opens about her skin cancer diagnosis

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All of this IMAGE staff member changed when she was diagnosed with melanoma. Now she encourages young women to be more aware of skin safety.

One night, when I noticed the smallest freckles behind my ankles, I was watching TV with my feet up on Pouf. There were freckles all over the body, some darker than the other freckles, but there was something noticeable about this. It was only 1 millimeter in diameter, but almost black in color.

I had never seen this color on my body before, so I consulted with Dr. Google to take a picture and monitor the change. A few days later, I showed it to my mom. Her diagnosis was hypochondriasis …

The pictures of the skin cancer lesions I found online looked much larger than the small black spots on the back of my ankle, so I decided to follow up. As long as the size and shape of the freckles didn’t change, I didn’t think I would worry.

A few months later, I was in the clinic of a general practitioner with a sinus infection. When she was writing my prescription, I remembered freckles and secretly asked her to take a look. “It’s probably nothing,” I told her, rolling my pants.

The doctor took out her magnifying glass and began to thoroughly examine the area, which I had not expected. “This has something to do with me,” she said immediately, then checked the “Urgent” box and filled out the referral form.

I was particular about how stupid I was

Ten days before the hospital appointment, I was given enough time to think about how stupid I was.

A few years ago, I was experimenting with the digital nomadic lifestyle and took my laptop to a sunshine destination where I could work in a bikini. I was always tanned, and as my skin got darker, the sun element I was wearing became lower.

Back in Ireland, I sometimes used sunbeds to replenish my sunburn. Yes i know, i’m an idiot … The consultant dermatologist wasn’t reading me the riots when the day of the appointment came and thankfully admitted that I was using the sunbed.

When I called them back, I already knew something was wrong.

He examined my body from head to toe and concluded that freckles were probably the moles of an “ugly duckling.” He carelessly wrote me with a pencil to do a biopsy, but assured me that I had nothing to worry about.

A few weeks later, when I saw many missed calls from the hospital, I almost forgot about the biopsy. When I called them back, I already knew something was wrong.

Stage 1 melanoma

The doctor told me that the biopsy did not return the results he expected. He explained that I had stage 1 melanoma, and I was fortunate to catch it so quickly as it was about to metastasize to something more serious.

A week later, a wide local excision was booked under local anesthesia. The operation was quick and relatively painless. The recovery was completely different.

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I was planning to commute the next day, but when I got out of bed, I fell to the ground. I didn’t expect it to be restricted, but when I removed the bandages and looked at the depth of the wound, I could see why it was moving from bed to bathroom.

I limped for about two weeks and couldn’t exercise for months. It took more than a year for the scars to change from dark purple to pale pink.

I realized how lucky I was

It was a debilitating experience, but all I could think of was how lucky I was. What if you moved to stage 4? Imagine losing part of your foot due to a sunburn …

Needless to say, my approach to sunscreen and UV exposure has changed dramatically. I wear a hat and SPF50 even if it is partially cloudy. I leave my scars covered with bandages and don’t stay in the sun for more than 40 minutes at a time.

You would lie if you said you didn’t miss a natural tan, but you can’t afford to take the risk. High sunscreen has become an indisputable part of my skin care routine, and there is always a fake sunburn.

It’s a terrible cliché, but I didn’t think this would happen to someone like me. I thought my dark hair and my dad’s darker skin would give me some kind of natural skin protection. I thought there was youth on my side.

Yes, I’m lucky to find it early, and I’m lucky that my scars are on an unobtrusive part of my body rather than on my face. However, this is not always the case. I learned the difficult way that exposure to the unprotected sun is not worth the risk. And it’s better to be pale and interesting than to hurt it forever.

Asked a dermatologist how to make sure they are limiting the risk of skin cancer

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Professor Niki Ralph, consultant dermatologist, Photo courtesy of Kieran Harnett

“More than 12,000 cases are diagnosed each year in Ireland, and skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland,” said dermatologist Professor Niki Ralph. “Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

“Approximately 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85% of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun, hence the style of clothing to protect the skin and hats outdoors. It is important to use a wide range of SPFs on a regular basis.

“Using self-monitoring by doing a skin test at home and monitoring changes in the nevus, such as changes in shape, size, and color, you can detect the possibility of skin cancer early. If you have any concerns about new or changing lesions, it is advisable to book with your family or dermatologist. “

Stay safe in the sun

At La Roche Posay, it is advisable to follow sun safety measures to protect the skin and limit the risk. Here are our top tips.

Apply sunscreen daily

Dermatologists and dermatologists recommend applying SPF daily. Apply a broad spectrum SPF of about two finger lengths to the face and about two teaspoons of SPF to the rest of the body. More sunscreen should be applied to larger areas of exposed skin as well. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it frequently every 2 hours to maintain protection (more if swimming, heavy sweat, or towels to dry your skin). ..

Recommended by dermatologists around the world, La Roche Posay Ancerios offers a wide range of sun care products, including the best-selling daily SPF. Invisible Fluid Ultra Light SPF50 + And that Invisible Body Spray SPF30.. Specially formulated for all types of sensitive skin, the water resistant, hypoallergenic range guarantees a very high and wide range of UVA / UVB protection.

Stay in the shade

Sunscreen is not the only way you can protect your skin, and there are other steps you can take to prevent damage. On hot and sunny days, try to find shade as much as possible. Avoid direct sunlight between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm when the sun is strongest.

Hide areas that are prone to sunburn

Protect your skin with clothing such as hats, long-sleeved tops, and UV-blocking sunglasses. If it’s not practical to wear this type of clothing, try at least a T-shirt or beach cover.

Provides additional protection for your baby

Make sure you are wearing a hat, loose clothing (to prevent overheating), and sunglasses. It is recommended that babies under 6 months of age always avoid direct sunlight. Older infants (under 3 years old) should avoid sunlight as much as possible. In particular, avoid the hottest hours of the day, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.


La Roche-Posay Anthelios Suncare is recommended by dermatologists around the world *. The formula is suitable for daily use and all sensitive skin types. Skin-type sunscreens are hypoallergenic and non-greasy, making them ideal for daily use.Buy all Anselios Suncare products Here..

* Based on interviews with 6023 dermatologists – IQVIA International Dermatologist Barometer 2017/18 and 2018/19 Wave.

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