Advert

Sunbed User Issues Stark Warning After Developing Skin Cancer

Published 
| Last updated 

Sunbed User Issues Stark Warning After Developing Skin Cancer

*Warning: this article contains graphic images*

A self-confessed tan-aholic has warned of the dangers of sunbeds after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

Mairead Mcguire started using sunbeds at 15 years old, and only stopped after being given the devastating news at 28 that she had developed basal cell carcinoma - which is a type of skin cancer.

The now 29-year-old used sunbeds three or four times a week for those 13 years, occasionally visiting them every day in preparation for the weekend.

Advert

And doctors even told her that a suspicious lump on her forehead was nothing to worry about, before she discovered two years later that it was cancer, after all.

Mairead was a self confessed tanning addict (Credit: Kennedy)
Mairead was a self confessed tanning addict (Credit: Kennedy)

Mairead had thought the lump was nothing more than a 'skin tag', even getting it removed four times, before experts realised what it was.

During this time, the childcare assistant continued using sunbeds - and it was only when the lump became even more painful that she went for a second opinion and was told she had skin cancer in October 2020.

Advert

The news was broken to Mairead as she was on the way to use a sunbed, and she was in utter shock.

Terrified at the idea of not being around for her children Miley-Rose, eight, and Reon, three, Mairead finally quit sunbeds forever and thankfully surgeons were able to successfully remove the cancerous lump in March this year.

The growth was brushed off as nothing by doctors (Credit: Kennedy)
The growth was brushed off as nothing by doctors (Credit: Kennedy)

Now the mum is sharing photos of the huge lump she had been hiding behind her hair for more than two years in a bid to warn others against using sunbeds and ending up in a situation like her.

Advert

Mairead, from Belfast, Ireland, said: "I have naturally fair skin and like myself a lot more tanned so I started using the sunbeds at 15 and became obsessed.

"I was so addicted I couldn't even tell I was tanned anymore but other people would be saying 'look at the colour of you' - so I just kept doing it and doing it.

"I noticed a tiny lump on my head but I ignored it for a few months and kept going on the sunbed.

"It started growing so I went to the doctor and he said it was just a skin tag and nothing to worry about.

Advert

"The doctor removed it by freezing it off a few times but it kept growing back worse and it started growing rapidly, hurting and bleeding at the slightest touch.

The growth was painful before it was removed (Credit: Kennedy)
The growth was painful before it was removed (Credit: Kennedy)

"In the back of my head I worried it might be cancer but it didn't stop me from going on the sunbeds because the doctor said it was nothing to worry about.

"I was really self-conscious about the lump as it got bigger so I would wear my hair differently to hide it. I moved my parting over to that side so there was more hair to cover it.

Advert

"It started off really tiny and grew like a wart and just kept growing. Once Covid kicked in all I could do was send photos to the doctor.

Mairead has now had the growth removed and is cancer free (Credit: Kennedy)
Mairead has now had the growth removed and is cancer free (Credit: Kennedy)

"In a month it doubled in size and he said it didn't look right so he referred me as an emergency to a specialist and I was seen the next week.

"The dermatologist said it looked like it had too many blood vessels to be cancerous but removed it anyway and said they'd be in contact within two weeks if it was cancerous.

"They called as I was on my way to do another sunbed and told me it was cancer."

There is barely any sign of the scar now - but Mairead is still insecure about it (Credit: Kennedy)
There is barely any sign of the scar now - but Mairead is still insecure about it (Credit: Kennedy)

When Mairead heard that she had cancer, she said she "broke down in tears".

"I had all sorts of thoughts going through my head - mainly I was terrified of not being there for my children," she said.

Dermatologists found that Mairead's lump had grown to three centimetres in length and one centimetre in width - triple its initial size.

She was sent for surgery in March this year to remove the cancerous growth and spent the three-hour operation awake and numbed under local anaesthetic.

Mairead said: "It was really scary and I had to go on my own because of Covid which made it even worse.

"The pain after surgery was terrible, I was bed-ridden for a week and the pain made me vomit because it was that bad.

"It's left a scar on my face and I'm quite self conscious about it because people are always going to see it when they look at my face but it's a reminder every day of how lucky I was.

Mairead says she will never step foot in a sunbed again (Credit: Kennedy)
Mairead says she will never step foot in a sunbed again (Credit: Kennedy)

"I was so lucky that the cancer grew on the outside of my head rather than the inside otherwise it could have been a lot worse."

The mum of two got the all clear from her skin cancer ordeal at a check up appointment four weeks after the operation.

Since her diagnosis she has never been on a sunbed again, instead sticking to fake tan, and hopes to encourage others to ditch the 'dangerous' tanning beds as well.

Mairead said: "I didn't realise how dangerous they actually are - I've heard about people getting skin cancer from using them but I never thought it would happen to me.

"Now it has happened to me and I've never used one since and never will again."

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy

Topics: Health, Life, Real Life

Joanna Freedman
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Sex & Relationships

Married At First Sight: Why Do Women Ignore Red Flags In New Relationships?

2 days ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

High Court Ruling Branded A 'Dark Day For People With Down's Syndrome And Learning Disabilities'

2 days ago