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Liverpool Tradesman Shares His Skin Cancer Story

Skin Cancer Campaign

‘I never thought to wear sun cream whilst working outdoors’ – Liverpool tradesman shares his skin cancer story

A retired joiner from Liverpool is supporting North West Cancer Research’s skin cancer awareness campaign, after working outdoors without sun protection lead to a skin cancer diagnosis.

Terry Kavanagh, 72 from Penny Lane, was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2016 when he visited the doctor about a suspicious mole on his left cheek. A biopsy confirmed that the mole was in fact a basel cell carcinoma.

He said: “Despite years of sun exposure, I never once thought I would be at risk of skin cancer. Although I’ve spent my life working outside and now that I’ve retired on my allotment, I never really thought about applying sun cream. In fact, I only ever put sun cream on when I’m on holiday abroad.

“Before I was diagnosed, a mole that had been on my cheek for a few years looked like it had changed shape, but I wasn’t worried about it. It was my wife, Anne, who persuaded me to go to the doctors and I was honestly shocked when they gave me the results of the biopsy.

“The mole on my face has now been removed and I have had surgery to reconstruct the area of my face where it was taken from. Since then, unfortunately I’ve developed further unusual moles on my back, which I am awaiting treatment for.

“My doctors have recommended a course of chemotherapy treatment, as it’s likely that even when these moles are removed, they will reappear again.

“If it wasn’t for my wife, I may have never visited the doctor and the problem could have become much worse. Not everyone will have someone that looks out for them like this, so I really want to encourage everyone to visit their GP if they are worried about any unusual moles or skin problems.

“I think men especially are reluctant to use sun cream when out in the sun, but for anyone who regularly works outside, it’s so important to wear sun cream. I found this out the hard way.”

Terry has now accepted that he will face years of treatment to ensure the moles on his back do not develop into malignant melanomas. This includes the regular removal of these moles and constant checkups with his GP. He will also embark on a course of preventative chemotherapy in the coming weeks.

Terry added: “Due to the lack of care I gave to my skin in my younger years, this is something I now have to learn to live with.

“Skin cancer is one of the biggest killers in Merseyside which is why I’m backing North West Cancer Research’s #suncreamselfie to encourage everyone to use sun cream, whether they are on holiday abroad or here in the UK. Too many people think that skin cancer won’t happen to them and I am living proof that this is wrong – skin cancer can happen to any of us no matter how old or young you are.”