Grandad issues cancer warning after shock diagnosis

Colin Galloway, who was diagnosed with skin cancer despite regularly covering up in the sun.
Colin Galloway, who was diagnosed with skin cancer despite regularly covering up in the sun.

A grandad has issued a warning to sun worshippers after being diagnosed with skin cancer – despite covering up.

Colin Galloway, 66, was dealt the unexpected blow he had a basal cell carcinoma on his left temple earlier this year.

The retired civil servant, who was made an MBE in 2008, said he would usually plaster factor 30 on his face – assuming it would provide him with complete protection against the sun.

Colin, 66, said: “I used to be a sun person when I was younger, when I would have holidays to Spain.

“People weren’t as knowledgeable in those days about what the sun could do. We would put sun cream on yes, but it would only be a factor 10. And you would just lie in the sun all day.”

Basal cell carcinoma is a non-melanoma skin cancer, and is the most common type of skin cancer in the UK, accounting for around 80 per cent of all cases.

The most common cause of basal cell carcinoma is too much exposure to the sun. Areas most at risk are those commonly exposed to the sun more often such as the face, head and neck.

Colin said: “I went to the dermatologist for something else and while I was there asked him if he could have a look at a spot that had been there for a while.

“I suspected something was wrong when he said he wanted a closer look. Straight away he said that horrible word – cancer.

“It came totally out of the blue. I usually use factor 30 on my face so it was really surprising I got it.

“The dermatologist said I was fair skinned, which I didn’t realise, and that made me really high risk.”

Colin was able to have a short procedure to remove the cancerous cells, leaving him with a scar on his left temple.

Colin said: “The ‘C’ word was difficult to hear and it certainly makes you more aware.

“The procedure to remove it was relatively quick but it needed six stitches.

“After using Nourisil, it’s now almost gone, which is great. I’m now much more careful about making sure I apply a factor 50 sun cream, especially on my face.”

If caught early and they are not in an awkward place, basal cell carcinomas can be cured in almost every case, so it’s important people are aware of the early warning signs.

People should monitor scabs on the skin which are growing or bleeding and never completely healing, and spots or freckles which change appearance in any way, according to the British Association of Dermatologists.