I only used the sunbeds twice a week to get a base tan for the summer

A MOTHER who used a tanning bed twice a week to get a base tan for the summer has urged others not to make their mistake.

Shannon Masterton, 29, from Derry, Northern Ireland, has been told her beauty routine has led to the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Shannon Masterton, 29, warns others about the dangers of using tanning beds

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Shannon Masterton, 29, warns others about the dangers of using tanning bedsCredit: Catering
The mother-of-two used sunbeds to get a base tan ahead of summer

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The mother-of-two used sunbeds to get a base tan ahead of summerCredit: Catering

She admitted that in the run-up to summer and the girls’ holidays, she would use tanning beds to top up her tan.

After being diagnosed with melanoma in January 2020, the mother-of-two now says it’s not worth risking her life to get a tan.

Shannon says her life flashed before her eyes and she imagined her children, Maebh, nine, and Dara, seven, growing up without their mother.

The retail assistant said: “I started using tanning beds in my early twenties in the run-up to summertime so I could get a nice tan.

“I wouldn’t say I used them excessively, it was just twice a week to get a bit of a tan.”

Ahead of a girl’s holiday in Benidorm, Shannon noticed a stain on her leg.

She said: “It was more of a freckle than a mole and when I was on holiday it started to itch.

“But I haven’t given it too much thought.

“My friend who is a nurse told me to get it checked but I ended up putting it off and didn’t get around to it.

“The following year I did the same thing and started using tanning beds before my vacation.”

Shannon noticed the same itchy feeling she’d had the previous year, but it eventually turned into a burning sensation.

She says fear of finding out what the doctors might tell her kept her from getting it checked out.

Shannon said, “After a while, the area of ​​my leg where I was getting the burning sensation went numb.”

During a 2019 Christmas Eve, Shannon’s nurse friend Aine was shocked to discover she hadn’t checked out the mole.

“[She] forced me to continue the following Monday morning,” Shannon said.

“She is really the reason my children here still have a healthy mother today.

“The doctor took some pictures and sent them to the dermatologist. Within days I received a call for them to look at it.

“At the appointment I had three moles removed and biopsied and the following week I received an urgent call to get my results.

“I knew something must have gone seriously wrong and my heart sank.

“I went to the appointment with my mother and the doctor diagnosed me with melanoma.”

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, but not the most common.

Yet around 16,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year and six Britons die from it every day.

Shannon said: “My life flashed before my eyes.

“I never thought it would lead to my being diagnosed with skin cancer. You just never think it’s going to happen to you.”

Shannon was asked if she had used tanning beds and claims the doctor said they were almost 100 per cent sure her cancer was due to UV exposure.

Shannon said: “I didn’t think anything of using the tanning bed.

“I figured because I’m only going on twice a week and I don’t use them year-round it would be fine.

“I never thought in a million years that this would happen to me.

“I’ve never been more scared than when I was told I had skin cancer.

“I underwent the procedure of removing the cancerous tissue and surrounding tissue to make sure everything was removed.

“They also had to remove some of my nerves for going so far in. I am now completely numb in that part of my leg.

“I’m so lucky I caught it early enough and went to the doctor when my boyfriend forced me to do it.

“It could have been a very different story.

“I’m so much more careful now. I am always covered and so are my children.

“It’s just not worth the risk.

“I’m on the all clear at the moment and I’m grateful to the NHS for the regular checkups I have to date.

“I am also grateful to my friend Aine and everything she has done for me. Life could have been very different if I hadn’t had an earth angel friend.”

Cancer Research UK says melanoma skin cancer risk is 16-25 per cent higher in people who have used a tanning bed – which is why The Sun’s Fabulous is fighting Dying For a Tan.

Using it before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 87 percent.

The scar on Shannon's leg (above her knee) where the cancer was excised

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The scar on Shannon’s leg (above her knee) where the cancer was excisedCredit: Catering
Shannon says her life came before her eyes when she was diagnosed with cancer and imagined her children Maebh, 9, and Dara, 7, growing up without their mother

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Shannon says her life came before her eyes when she was diagnosed with cancer and imagined her children Maebh, 9, and Dara, 7, growing up without their motherCredit: Catering
The melanoma on Shannon's leg

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The melanoma on Shannon’s legCredit: Catering

ARE SUN LOUNGERS SAFE?

Sunbeds emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, which increase the risk of developing skin cancer, both skin cancer (melanoma) and skin cancer (non-melanoma).

Many solariums emit a larger dose of UV radiation than the tropical midday sun.

The risks are greater for young people. There is evidence that people who have frequent exposure to UV rays before the age of 25 have a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths emit the same harmful radiation as sunlight. UVA rays make up about 95 percent of sunlight.

They can cause your skin to age prematurely, making it look rough, leathery, and wrinkled. UVB rays make up about 5 percent of sunlight and will burn your skin.

A tan is your body’s attempt to protect itself from the harmful effects of UV rays. Skin cells make pigment (the brown color) for protection.

Using a tanning bed is no safer than tanning in the sun.

It can be even more harmful depending on factors such as: the level of UV radiation from the tanning bed, how often you use a tanning bed, the length of your tanning sessions, your skin type and your age.

Just 20 minutes at a time is comparable to four hours in the sun – with many stronger sunbeams than at noon.

It’s one of the reasons the World Health Organization considers tanning beds to be just as dangerous as smoking.

Anyone can get skin cancer and melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.

There are more than 16,000 cases per year and approximately 2,300 deaths.

Read more about The Sun’s Dying For A Tan campaign.

https://www.thesun.ie/health/8753934/dont-make-my-mistake-sunbeds-base-tan-skin-cancer/ I only used the sunbeds twice a week to get a base tan for the summer

Fry Electronics Team

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