Royston cancer survivor warns of sunbed danger

Cancer survivor Kerri Willmott

Cancer survivor Kerri Willmott - Credit: Archant

A MOTHER who beat cancer is warning people about the dangers of using sunbeds.

Kerri Wilmott, from Royston, was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on her face in March, 2012, and had to have a 3.5cm area of tissue removed from under her eye and a skin graft using tissue from her groin.

She regularly used sunbeds before going on holiday when she was a teenager and also used a facial solarium when she was younger.

She said: “My experience has made me extremely passionate about raising awareness of this terrible disease and warn others of the dangers of sunbeds.

“I used sunbeds regularly as a teenager. My parents hired a sunbed before we went away on holiday to help us develop a base tan. I also used a facial solarium when I was a teenager. Using sunbeds was the norm in those days – we didn’t understand the dangers.

“If my story can help make just one other person think twice about using a sunbed it will have been worth it.”

The mum-of-three first noticed something was wrong back in 2002 when a freckle on her face changed into what she describes as a ‘bump’. After having this removed twice it began to grow again in December 2011.

Most Read

“After having several biopsies come back clear in the past, when I had the lump removed for the third time I was not expecting anything different,” said Ms Willmott, 35.

“However, when I got a call from my consultant’s secretary asking me to go in for the results, I prepared myself for bad news. All sorts of things started running through my head, most importantly, would I be around to see my three children grow up?

“It was incredibly difficult being told I had to have to have surgery on my face which would change the way I looked forever. I had the operation in April last year. It was hard but the scar is healing well.”

Ms Willmott was speaking after a new report, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, revealed that the average skin cancer risk from sunbeds is more than double that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean sun at midday.

Yinka Ebo, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “Sunbeds are not going to do you any good – the best case scenario is that they will age and damage your skin; the worst case scenario is a cancer diagnosis and potentially death.”