A woman has revealed her shock at finding out she had skin cancer, thanks to a dot on her leg so small she could barely see it.
Louise Hay, from Sydney, Australia, sadly lost her father Donald to the disease last year so was having regular check-ups for her own skin.
During one check in June, doctors spotted one freckle which was tiny, but was darker than the others and a biopsy revealed it was actually cancerous.
She told her 23,000 followers on Instagram: ‘This time last year I lost my dad to melanoma, so ever since then I’ve been super vigilant about getting my skin checked.
‘Last week was my one year check up and they found a little mole on my leg which they removed and sent off to get checked, to find out what it was, and yesterday I found out it was a melanoma.’
It was graded as a stage zero, which means it was just on the surface on her skin.
They were easily able to remove it as she had caught it early.
She continued: ‘I just got it removed today. I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone to get their skin checked.
‘I never would have thought it would happen to me until my dad was diagnosed and it’s crazy to think I would never have gone for a skin check and found the melanoma that I did had my dad not gotten sick.
‘I know everyone thinks they are invincible and it’ll never happen to them but… just go and get your skin checked.’
After posting pictures of the tiny dot on her leg and then an image showing how much skin they had removed, Louise followed up by saying she had been inundated with messages from people who had booked skin checks after seeing her story.
She added: ‘So many of you have gone and booked skin checks, which is amazing.’
She clarified that she had no worries about the mole and it was only because of the check up that it was found.
She said: ‘This was my annual check up… where they found the mole that looked funny. I didn’t see that there was anything wrong with that mole, it just looked like a freckle to me, honestly it was so small. It looked completely normal.’
Skin cancer is more common in Australia, where two in three people will be diagnosed before they turn 70 and regular skin check ups are recommended.
In the UK, the NHS recommends keeping an eye out for any changes in your skin and if a lump, ulcer, lesion, skin discolouration or any abnormality has not healed within four weeks, it’s best to speak to your GP.
They also recommend using high-factor sunscreen, limiting time in the sun and avoiding sunbeds to reduce the risk.
You can find more advice and support about skin cancer on the Melanoma UK website.
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