Julie Blackburn, aged 51, has been living with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, for 15 years and in that time has had her lymph node in her right leg removed, had 15 lumps dissected and is currently her 34th round of immunotherapy. 15-years-ago Julie of Penrose Court, Selston, went over to her neighbours for a barbecue were one of the drunk party goers kept asking ‘what was stuck on her leg’, which was a mole. After calling it an “annoyance” she went to her GP to have it removed - however, the doctor sent her to a specialist consultant who knew from looking that the mole was cancerous and it was removed that day.She said: “If the mole wasn’t mentioned at the party I wouldn’t be here today.“My cancer is always going to be there, you learn to live with it in a way.” As part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, she is asking people to be more aware of the symptoms, put on suncream and to check moles.She said: “I never used suntan cream when I was younger - you don’t think it is going to be you who gets skin cancer. “People think it is not as bad as other cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer but it can still spread to your internal organs. “If had known back then what I know now I would have noticed the worrying signs.” Julie’s cancer is currently being managed by an immunotherapy drug, nivolumab.She said: “I am making slow progress. I have my fingers crossed.”Julie who finished working at Slimming World three-years-ago when the cancer spread to her liver, is now spending time with her two-year-old grandson Alfie and is soon to have her first granddaughter.
What is Julie’s form of skin cancer?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body. According to the NHS the most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole. This can happen anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are on the back in men and on the legs in women. Melanoma is caused by skin cells that begin to develop abnormally. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun is thought to cause most melanomas, but there’s evidence to suggest that some may result from sunbed exposure. To keep yourself safe do not get sunburnt or pink in the sun and wear sunscreen or cover up. Also check moles regularly for changes.