| 0.7°C Dublin

A DUBLIN mum treated for

A DUBLIN mum treated for skin cancer has urged others to be more aware about changes to their skin.

Catherine O'Reilly's advice comes at the start of Melanoma Awareness Month, which began yesterday.

The mum-of-four wasn't too concerned about a mole on her left leg four years ago.

But her decision to get it checked turned out to be fortunate: the 52-year-old was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

Montessori teacher Catherine is fit and healthy today, nearly four years after the diagnosis.

"I would say to people that skin cancer is treatable, and the key is getting it early enough.

"If anything changes on your skin, get it checked," she told the Herald.

"I had something on my left leg and it didn't even really look like a mole. It looked more like a skin tag, and it didn't look dark or suspicious. I wasn't worried about it at all."

She went to her GP in August 2009, and she was referred to a dermatologist.

After the malignant melanoma diagnosis, Catherine had lymph nodes removed.

"I didn't require any further treatment. I went for check-ups every three months and now I go every six months."

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland.

The Irish Cancer Society will be launching its SunSmart campaign this month, providing information on staying safe in the sun.

The charity advises anyone who is concerned about cancer to call its national cancer freefone helpline.

Meanwhile, experts predict a trebling of malignant melanoma rates over 30 years.

During May, medical professionals and health professional bodies in Ireland will be part of melanoma awareness month, part of a global initiative to promote the early detection and prevention of skin cancer.



One in eight men and one in 10 women in Ireland will develop skin cancer, and there are approximately 100 deaths a year from melanoma.

The numbers of deaths are increasing for both men and women.

The Mole Screening Clinic on Grafton Street is a dedicated melanoma detection clinic.

Patients can have a mole examined using the latest technology at the clinic in just 15 minutes.

A referral is not needed and it costs €49 for a single mole screening.

Roughly 97pc of skin cancer is curable if caught in time, so melanoma awareness month is designed to encourage people to be proactive about skin cancer detection and prevention.