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30th October 2015

Melanie Williams: Looking beyond skin cancer

A small black mark under my thumbnail turned out to be skin cancer and I’m currently undergoing radiotherapy following the amputation of my thumb.

Skin cancer isn’t something you can take lightly - I should know. At the age of 36 I have just been diagnosed with Melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

Melanie Williams

I’m not one to dwell on the past though – I want to look forward and I want to stop the same thing from happening to someone else. I posted a selfie of my thumb on facebook as a warning to others. I didn’t expect it to go any further than my friends, but it went viral. I was overwhelmed by the number of people sharing and commenting on the post.

It was then that SunSense got in touch to ask if I would work with them to help raise awareness of the dangers of UV rays. There are sadly so many people who mistakenly believe that tanning is safe and even the ones that are clued up often have an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude.

I’ll be the first to admit that before my diagnosis, I liked having tanned skin. It’s only since being educated on the dangers of tanning that I now fully understand the consequences.

Since the diagnosis, my entire outlook on tanning has changed, so much so that I never leave the house without sunscreen in my bag.  Through educating people about the importance of protecting their skin, I truly believe that we’re one step closer to reducing rates of skin cancer in the UK.

If sharing my story can help even one family, then it will all be worth it. As a mum, I know now how important it is that I teach my kids to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis from a young age.

It’s going to be a long process and this won’t happen overnight but my message is act now. It’s never too late to start protecting your skin.

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