A Dublin mother who was once a dedicated sun worshipper and sunbed user has shared graphic images of the painful treatment she is undergoing after being diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells.
Mum Margaret Murphy (45) who lives in Lucan is currently on a 28-day course of a painful Efudix treatment after she was diagnosed with Actinic Keratosis in December, pre-cancerous cells which were caused by overexposure to the sun.
"For over a decade I lived in Crete and I didn’t pay much attention to sun protection. I would use a factor until I was brown, but after that I would abandon it. During the summers in the bad Irish weather I would use sunbeds to try and keep my tan up but now I’m paying the price really.
"I found out in the beginning of December that I have pre-cancerous cells, actinic keratosis. I have had little marks on my forehead for about eight or nine years, but about three years ago I became more aware of them – they would sting me quite a bit. They were little crusty spots that wouldn’t go away no matter when I put on them.”
The mum-of-one has documented her treatment on Facebook, to warn young Irish girls of the dangers posed by the sun.
“The treatment is quite sore and if you see the pictures, you can see that my face is very crusty, red and painful. I’m on day 17 of my treatment, and they say the three days after you finish the 28 day course are the worst. Your skin doesn’t go back to normal for a month or two."
The marks on Margaret's forehead became crusty and red
The mum, who works from home, said Irish people need to be more aware of just how much damage the sun is doing to our skin.
“I guess when we go out without sun cream we think cancer will never happen to us, but that’s not true. Since starting the Facebook page, I’ve had messages from people who have Stage 4 skin cancer, and they’ve told me how lucky I am to have caught this early. It’s so sad that it is entirely preventable,” she said.
Margaret hopes that her experience will act as a warning also to her 13-year-old daughter Olivia when it comes to the sun.
“When we go on holidays she can be reluctant to put on sun cream, but I hope this has taught her how important it is and how dangerous the sun can be,” she said.