AS millions of women continue to post their fresh-faced “selfies” online, one Wirral mum-to-be is encouraging others to take the time to check themselves for signs of one of the UK’s deadliest cancers.
More than £8m has been raised through the #nomakeupselfie campaign that involves women posting photos of themselves online without make-up in aid of various cancer charities.
But while thousands of us continue to go barefaced online, Hoylake cancer survivor Elizabeth Edgerton is urging us to seize the opportunity to check our faces and bodies for signs of skin cancer.
The 31-year-old, who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2009, said: “Bare skin is currently still being posted by the minute on Facebook. This sparked my thought process to seize the opportunity while all these skin types are bare, to suggest the participants check their skin.”
Elizabeth, who is expecting her first child in six weeks, hopes that checking skin for irregular moles will one day become as common as checking your breasts.
She said: “I grew up on the Wirral where I spent hot summer days baking my skin on West Kirby beach and used sun bed salons across the peninsula to top up my tan – both the cause of my malignant melanoma.
“As we head into summer, I want to make people stop and think about if it really is worth dying for the summer glow.
“We are all at risk - I am proof that skin cancer doesn't just target fair haired freckly skinned people.”
Elizabeth was just 26 when she was diagnosed with skin cancer, having spotted a new mole on her upper arm.
After numerous tests and hospital visits, Elizabeth was fortunate that her cancer had not spread too far.
Her newly-gained knowledge of what to look out for even led to her spotting a malignant melanoma on her mum’s forearm, which too was treated before things got too serious.
Now, Elizabeth hopes that sharing her story will help others to avoid the preventable disease.
She said: “She said: “I have tried on numerous occasions to explain how it feels to be told you have cancer.
“I hated myself for the times on holiday I’d not applied the suntan cream as well or as often as I should have and for the times I’d popped into the sun bed salon to top up my tan before a night out.
“Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, even where skin is not normally exposed to the sun.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re young, middle-aged or old, skin cancer doesn’t discriminate where age is concerned.
“The simple fact is that if you fail to protect your skin from UV radiation you’re putting yourself at risk.”
Moles that show signs of changing shape, colour, become patchy, multi-shaded, increase in size, start to itch, become painful, bleed or become inflamed should be checked out by your GP.
Elizabeth added: “It is really important to check your skin regularly and make sure you check your entire body – the soles of your feet, between fingers and under nails.
“The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or in the case of serious melanoma, even death.”
Despite being left with a noticeable scar on her arm, Elizabeth considers herself lucky.
She added: “I had psyched myself up to losing my right arm in my bid to ensure the cancer was cut away from my body completely and for good.”
Elizabeth is now focusing on planning safe sun care for her child.