Dave, Healthwatch volunteer, updates us with how his recent cancer journey is going.

I had my appointment with the nurse on 17th March, not to have the stiches removed as I thought, but just an inspection and clean up of the wound. She explained that the stiches would dissolve internally and the bits on the outside would fall off in due course, which they did about 2 days later!

On 24th March I had an appointment with the consultant who explained that the biopsy had confirmed that the lump was a Squamous Cell Carcinoma which was non-invasive and had been successfully removed. He was discharging me from the cancer team!

He went on to say that the other ‘blemishes’ on my scalp were Actinic Keratosis, damage caused over the years by exposure to the sun and that I should apply moisturiser to my scalp daily. If left untreated this could also develop into ‘something else’! He would also refer me back to the Dermatology team for further monitoring.

The message I take, and want to share, is that this damage was caused back in the early 1970s when I served in the RAF in Cyprus for 3 years and continued during the years since. Of course I wore a hat when I was in uniform, but not when I was ‘off duty’ and hardly ever after that – until now!

We all love the sun and the warmth it gives, and I considered myself too macho to wear a hat and/or apply sunblock, although since my first bout of cancer (Oesophageal Cancer) in 2009 I have been a bit more careful. It’s a hat and factor 50 sunblock for me henceforth!

Wonderful as sunshine is, it causes damage to our skin even more so with the depletion of the Ozone layer so here are my three messages:

  • WEAR A HAT AND SUNBLOCK!
  • If you notice any changes in your body – GET IT CHECKED!
  • THE NHS IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS