Skin cancer malignant melanoma: Tanning addict’s story should be an eye-opener for others

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Skin cancer
Qin Zhengyu, 78, who suffers from skin cancer, shows tumours on her fingers, at Heshan village, in Shimen county, central China's Hunan Province, June 4, 2014. From the 1950s, mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the area around Heshan which is rich in realgar, or arsenic disulphide. They were shut down in 2011 due to the pollution they caused but dust and runoff from arsenic plagues Heshan to this day. In 2010, 157 villagers from Heshan, with a population of about 1,500, had died of cancer caused by arsenic poisoning in the previous two decades, and another 190 had developed cancer due to arsenic poisoning, the villagers wrote in a letter to the local government, seen by Reuters, seeking compensation and aid. Picture taken June 4, 2014. Reuters/Jason Lee

Tanning addicts, who spend quite a lot of time getting bronzed, may suffer from skin cancer malignant melanoma. Laura Creane from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, used to use a sunbed for at least twice a week. She was addicted to getting bronzed. Today, she spends £2,500 (AU$4,867) a year on SPF products after she was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Creane is a former tanning salon owner but now she has to stuff her skin with SPF products. When she was 17, she got a job at a beauty salon where she fell in love with sunbeds. She would even apply low factor sunscreens on beach holidays. In 2010, she spotted a black mole on her stomach, which was a malignant form of skin cancer, melanoma.

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“You just can't be too careful, women and men are still using sunbeds every day and wearing low factors on holiday and they don't realise the damage they're doing to their skin – I certainly didn't,” Creane said.

According to The Sun, she is extremely scared that the cancer will return. Hence, she can’t live without her SPF products. Creane is now a fundraiser for British Skin Foundation and thankfully, she has been cured of the disease after two operations.

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“Look out for moles or patches of skin that are growing, changing shape, developing new colours, inflamed, bleeding, crusting, red around the edges, particularly itchy, or behaving unusually,” said Dr. Bav Shergill, a Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation Trustee.

He added that the best way to detect skin cancers is to check one’s skin regularly. A person must examine his/her skin all over the body, from top to toe.

There are three types of skin cancers, namely, non-melanoma cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. According to the Cancer Council, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.

Close to half a million people are treated every year. Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women. Around 500 people die every year due to non-melanoma cancers in Australia.