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'Don't risk your life just to get a sun tan' MUM'S WARNING ON SUN BED USE.

Byline: JOANNE DOUGLAS joanne.douglas@examiner.co.uk @joannedouglas0

'NO sun tan is worth risking your life for' - says a mum-of-two after describing her horrific cancer experience.

Sarah Brookes is fighting for her future after being diagnosed with stage four melanoma.

And she's backing a campaign by Melanoma UK to ban commercial sun beds in the UK, saying the link to cancer cannot be ignored.

The 41-year-old says she has "every intention of being here in 10 years time" despite the advanced cancer and is trying every wonder drug and treatment option available.

Now she's talked of the wider impact, saying: "I was an active person, I ran three-and-a-half miles every night, now I need to use a scooter to get around.

"I've had to leave my job, my children have had to pick me up off the bathroom floor, I've had to tell my mum she'll be burying me - no sun tan is worth that.

"It's like an atom bomb went off. I'm at the centre of it and it ripples out and affects everything and everyone in my life.

"But I'm a fighter, I've every intention of still being here in 10 years time, I'm not giving up.

"And I want people to read this and think 'do I really need to use a sun bed?' the answer is always no."

It was April 2016 when her son first spotted a flat growth behind her ear.

She was misdiagnosed and it was four vital months later when it had grown into a lump that she finally got a diagnosis.

Sarah has faced four operations so far plus radiotherapy and chemotherapy, as well as a neck dissection and gamma knife therapy.

She thought she was winning, but further scans revealed brain tumours which move her diagnosis to stage four - the highest and most challenging stage to treat.

"I'm putting a brave face on it," said Sarah. "I'm fighting every day and I want to use my experience to prevent anyone else going through this." Sarah was never a sun-worshiper, but when she was asked to be a bridesmaid she was told by the bride to get on a sun bed as the bride didn't want a "pasty-faced bridesmaid."

"I wish I'd said no," Sarah said. "I went on a sun bed three times a week. I'll never know if it led to this, but there are links between sun bed use and cancer. I can't prove it or rule it out, but it just isn't worth this."

Sarah, married to Darren, is mum to Morgan, 15, and Mason, 12, and lives in Low Moor near Bradford.

She has family in Kirkburton and in Leeds and says the impact has been felt far and wide.

Asked what her advice was for people who use sun beds, she said: "What is the point of risking your life for a tan? Sarah is focusing on the positives. She is mentoring young carers and other patients going through melanoma, saying she wants to give back and raise awareness.

The petition calls on the government to "follow the lead of Australia and ban commercial sun beds."

It adds that melanoma kills six people every day and sun beds have increased the risk of developing cancer.

To sign the petition visit: https:// petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223903

CAPTION(S):

Sarah Brookes has been diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 24, 2018
Words:564
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