Mum told she had ‘silent killer’ cancer after noticing her leg looked different
A mum has vowed to never use a sunbed again after she was diagnosed with skin cancer.
Paris Tippett, 25, suspected something might be wrong after she spotted a new freckle on her shin, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Her worst fears came true when a biopsy showed that freckle was cancerous and she had stage-two melanoma.
The devastated mum burst into tears and asked her doctor ‘is this terminal?’ before she underwent a second operation to remove the cancerous cells.
Paris had been using sunbeds on and off from the age of 18 to banish the winter blues and boost her tan.
Not only did Paris find the tanning sessions gave her a desired golden glow, she claims they also helped her through ‘down patches’ – including when she experienced seasonal affective disorder.
When the tanning salons reopened after the lockdown was lifted last year, Paris decided to take advantage of the sunbeds, unsure when they might be shut again.
She said: “I was using sunbeds more so in between lockdowns because I didn’t know when I was going to be able to get a sunbed again.
“From last summer I upped it to two [sessions] a week, sometimes three for 12-14 minutes a time over the course of four months, and that’s when a little freckle on my shin came up that winter.
“I don’t have loads of freckles on my legs. I have a few moles on my thigh but nothing on my shin.
“I was moisturising my leg and I thought ‘oh that looks different, that’s a new one’, it was on its own at the front.
“I kept an eye on it, still carried on using the sunbed for a few weeks with a plaster over it, but then decided I needed to get it looked at.”
Paris, who is mum to three-year-old Saskia Brown, went to her GP and was referred to skin specialists who removed the freckle for a biopsy.
She said: “I went to the doctors and they weren’t really concerned at all as it was a perfect circle and not really dark.
“The skin specialist at the hospital checked me from head to toe and said it was the only one that looked a little bit different but she wasn’t really concerned.
“But she said that because it was new and I didn’t feel comfortable with it, it could be removed if I wanted.
“I know my body and I just got that feeling and I knew something just wasn’t right.”
Two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove the freckle in July, Paris was given the devastating news that it was cancerous and she had stage-two melanoma.
Terrified at the ‘silent killer’ diagnosis, the mum from Berkshire quit using sunbeds.
Now relieved to have had the all-clear, she is sharing her ordeal to spread the message that using them ‘isn’t worth it’.
She said: “I first started using sunbeds when I was 18 as I wanted to try them.
“From then I’ve just gone in and out of using them in my life.
“I haven’t used them solidly every week of my life, I tend to use them just before I go on holiday or for summer.
“They also make me feel a bit better. Sometimes when I’ve been feeling a bit down in the past, I get SAD [seasonal affective disorder] and it has made me feel like it’s helping me.
“When the doctor told me it was melanoma, a vicious one, I just sat there and was beside myself.
“I just cried and said ‘is this terminal?'”
After the shock diagnosis, Paris underwent a second surgery three weeks later on August 24.
During the procedure lymph nodes were removed and a wider section of tissue was taken to ensure it hadn’t spread any further – even going down to the bone on her shin.
Paris, who runs massage therapy business P.Y.T Treatments, said: “Stage two melanoma is a fast-spreading cancer. It’s all about time with melanoma, if you catch it fast you’re lucky.
“This mole was probably only on my body for six months and I had to go through what I had to go through and that was really lucky.
“Whereas if it had been there for years it could have spread to my lungs, it might have got in my blood, you just don’t know.
“I’m so thankful I did listen to my body and got it removed.
“Three weeks later [after the diagnosis] I had surgery, it was a really difficult time.
“I had days I didn’t even want to be here – really, really low days when I thought I couldn’t cope.”
After hearing her results were all clear four weeks later on September 23, Paris described it as being like ‘winning the lottery’.
Now, Paris will have regular check-ups with her dermatologist and surgeon and has vowed to never go on sunbeds again – and is urging others to do the same.
She added: “I couldn’t believe that sunbeds could do this. I’ll never get on one ever again, it’s not worth it.
“The thing with melanoma is you don’t know you’ve got it, it’s a silent killer. It doesn’t show necessarily in a mole – it can be a patch of skin, uneven patch of skin.
“I would say to anyone who is thinking of using sunbeds to invest in an amazing tan – there are some amazing tans out there.
“It’ll be fake tan only from now on.”