Saturday 23 June 2018

Colin Farrell's brother-in-law Steven Mannion reveals skin cancer diagnosis

Steven Mannion and Eamon Farrell
Steven Mannion and Eamon Farrell
Colin Farrell attends a premiere for "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" on day 3 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Elgin Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Eamon Farrell ,Colin Farrell and Claudine Farrell
Steven Mannion
Steven Mannion and Eamon Farrell at their belated wedding reception at Krystle nightclub in 2009
Colin Farrell poses for photographers at the premiere for "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, September 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Geoff RobinsGEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images

Eugene Masterson

Actor Colin Farrell’s brother-in-law, celebrity artist Steven Mannion, has revealed he has been diagnosed with skin cancer and warns people about the dangers of using sunbeds.

Steven, who is married to Colin’s brother Eamon, stresses the reason he is going public by disclosing he has melanoma is because he wants to save people from the killer disease.

Colin Farrell attends a premiere for
Colin Farrell attends a premiere for "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" on day 3 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Elgin Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

And the otherwise superfit 34-year-old insists it was his overuse of tanning salons when he was a teenager that was a major factor in a mole on his lower back becoming cancerous.

A surgical procedure means Steven has a 95 per cent survival rate, but he says it’s only the fact it was caught early that he’s not talking about having months to live.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Steven says he believes sunbeds were a factor in his developing the illness.

“If I could go back now and talk to that 19-year-old me I would tell him tan beds and UV [ultraviolet rays] are so dangerous, certainly for my skin tone,” he says. “I thought I was going to live forever. I was so arrogant and egotistical.”

Steven says he thought he would not be affected by cancer because he lead such a healthy lifestyle.

"I do everything right. I eat healthily. I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink – occasionally, twice or three times a year I might have a drink.I work out every morning with CrossFit, I then go and do cardio in the gym. I horse ride. I’m vegetarian for the past six years. But this type of cancer is not caused by lifestyle, or food. It’s caused by UV."

Eamon Farrell ,Colin Farrell and Claudine Farrell
Eamon Farrell ,Colin Farrell and Claudine Farrell

Fair-skinned Steven, who married Eamon in Vancouver in Canada in 2009, pulls up his top to show his torso covered in numerous moles on both his back and front. It was one of these on his lower back that caused alarm bells to ring.

“What happened was it was itching and it was bleeding a bit, it was a bit sore,” he explains.

“Eamon would say to me, ‘that looks different, it’s changing, you should go get it checked’. I would say, ‘I’m fine, I’m grand’.

“He kept pushing me. Then we were at a wedding and Claudine, one of Eamon and Colin’s two sisters, was there. She said, ‘Steven, you should really get it checked’.”

Steven Mannion
Steven Mannion

After taking their advice, he found out there was a waiting list of three to four months and although he doesn’t have private health care, he eventually managed to get a referral to a specialist in St Vincent’s.

It was a Monday morning, September 11, when Steven and Eamon went in to get the results of the biopsy from dermatologist Dr Bláithin Moriarty.

“She told me that I had melanoma, that I would have to be operated on and that I have to see her every three months for the next five years and have a full check – that’s when she said I passed out,” Steven reveals.

“Eamon took me off the chair and lay me on the ground while my dermatologist went off and got the nurses.”

The news that Steven has Stage 1B melanoma hit him like a ton of bricks.

"It completely changed my life. I was always a very positive person, but it really has put things into perspective, that I could be dead tomorrow. Ninety-five per cent of people survive Stage 1 after five years,” he notes. "I’m not out of the woods yet, but that’s where I am at the moment. If I had Stage 3 or 4 – Stage 3 you’re looking at maybe 20 per cent survival, Stage 4 you’re talking about months to live."

Steven has a 12-inch scar on his lower back and on Friday will go into hospital for a second procedure.

“If there’s one thing I want to get across to people is go and get your moles checked, get your skin checked.

“Another GP friend of mine told me that this is a type of cancer people in relationships spot because their partner sees it – like Eamon did in my case. But many singles tend to die from it because they don’t notice it. So go and get checked.”

Fitness fanatic Steven will also have to change his lifestyle. He used love going for 10km runs when staying at Colin’s mansion in L.A., but that will now have to stop.

“When I visit LA I will have to wear baseball caps, no t-shorts or shorts, and stay out of the sun between 11 and 3, because the sun is at its highest point,” he points out. "I now put on factor 50 three or four times a day, even here in Ireland. I do a lot of horseriding and used love the sun on my bones, but now I will have to cover up.”

"I’m a bit like a vampire now – I’m moving to Iceland where is dark for over 20 hours in the Winter!," he jokingly adds with a laugh.

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