Marion Stanton has always enjoyed a spot of sun-bathing. Holidays abroad were always in places that guaranteed ‘the weather’ and as a youngster she spent long summer days out in the open without a thought of sun cream of any strength.
But at 72-years-old, Marion, of Little Aston Park near Sutton Coldfield, has just had an operation to remove a cancerous growth from her back.
“When I was a child no-one even thought there could be any danger playing out in the sun,” she explained. “As I got older sun creams were introduced but we thought we were well covered if we used Factor Six!
“It is only over the last few years that the real dangers of sunburn have become well known and by then I think it was a bit late for a long-time sun-loving person like me.”
Marion first spotted the mole in the middle of her back between her shoulder blades while trying on clothes in “one of those changing rooms where you can’t avoid seeing everything” she explained.
But Marion didn’t think much about it and it was only when she went to see consultant Dermatologist Dr Manjit Kaur at Spire Little Aston Hospital that the seriousness of the matter came to light.
“I had gone to see about having a small wart-like growth removed from the bottom of my back,” said Marion. “However, as soon as Dr Kaur spotted the mole then she wasn’t really interested in anything else!
“She suggested I had it removed immediately and then sent it for analysis which showed it was a superficial, spreading cancerous melanoma that would need more treatment. I really was lucky that Dr Kaur was so alert, otherwise things could have turned out much, much worse.”
Marion underwent an operation to remove 6cm by 4cm of skin and tissue down to muscle level to complete her treatment and it was good news when she was told, after four weeks, that she was all-clear.
Dr Kaur said: the earlier a skin cancer is found the better the chance that it can be treated with success. You don’t need scans or blood tests to find a skin cancer early – you just need your eyes and a mirror. Examining the skin for new or changing moles and skin lesions is essential - if you are concerned about anything get it checked by your doctor even if it has not caused any symptoms.
Now Marion’s time in the sun is limited to short periods with the protection of Factor 30 creams and a sun hat!
“It has changed my attitudes completely and I am making sure my sun-loving friends are also made aware of the dangers,” she said. “I have had a lucky escape and I want to make sure my experience helps other people in a similar situation.”
Click here to visit Dr Kaur's full profile.