Fiona from Cardiff was diagnosed with malignant melanoma about five years ago.
This is Fiona's story:
"I was referred to the dermatology department of University Hospital Wales after a visit to my GP. I’d had some concerns over a mole on my lower leg. My mum noticed that the mole was getting larger, and suggested I should get it checked out, as she had also had a malignant melanoma on her leg which looked similar.
Although I was aware of skin cancers, and had previously used tanning beds, I hadn’t noticed any recent changes or symptoms. No changes in colour, no itching, and definitely no bleeding. Looking back, the mole had probably gradually bigger without me realising.
Whilst at my initial appointment was with dermatology, I was seen by a consultant who checked other moles on my body; he also became concerned about a very small but dark mole on my upper arm. I was asked if removal and biopsies could be carried out immediately, on that same day.
Two weeks later the consultant called me to tell me that it was bad news that they were malignant, and that he would need to do wider excision to ensure that they had not spread. Fortunately for me, after the wider excision no further treatment was necessary. I was told I’d need regular mole checks to ensure no other mole changes were noted.
As I'd previously worked in the spa and beauty industry, I was initially concerned about how I'd look physically. My melanomas were in areas of the body that I thought would stop me wearing sleeveless tops and having bare legs. As my body image was very important to me, my self-esteem was really knocked.
My scars were very prominent at first, but after a couple of years were less unsightly. My family just reassured me that I was fortunate to have had them removed and not require further treatment. I changed my behaviour in regards to safe tanning, and now always use very high SPF sun creams and spray tan, for special occasions!
As I have a young daughter, the most important motivation now is to stay healthy and sun safe, to be around for as long as possible to enjoy life with my family.”
If you're worried about a mole, call our free Support Line on 0808 808 1010 or visit your GP.