Deborah Meaden credited her makeup artist for spotting a sign of skin cancer, which led to her diagnosis.
The Dragon’s Lair star, 63, revealed that prior to her diagnosis she hadn’t paid too much attention to sunscreen, admitting that while she wore sunscreen if she was on vacation or going to the beach she didn’t wear it every day.
“I didn’t care [being outside] with the same respect as if you were sunbathing, “he told Vogue Williams during the Boots Taboo Talk podcast.
“I was aware of that [how much the sun could damage my skin]I have fairly fair skin but strangely I have never really burned myself and I think it was a problem for me.
“I thought I was immune to it… I thought, I might look blond, but of course my skin can handle it. So it was a bit of a shock when I realized there had been some damage. “
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Meaden went on to reveal that it was her makeup artist on the BBC show who first noticed a potential sign of skin cancer.
“I was filming Dragon’s Lairand I have no blemishes, but my makeup artist had noticed what looked like a tiny white dot that had been on my face for probably about six weeks, “she continued.
“And she kept saying, ‘That’s not fair, Deborah,’ and I thought, ‘OK, that’s really weird, I don’t usually get any points.’ I was going to Africa and I thought, before I went, I just had to do a check.
“So I sent a picture to my doctor, who said it might be something, it might not be, but it might be something. Then he gave me an appointment with a local hospital and I went ahead and they said, ‘You have a scaly one.’ “
According to the NHS squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), it is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer, which begins in the cells that line the top of the epidermis and accounts for about 20 in every 100 skin cancers.
It often appears as a compact pink lump with a rough or crusted surface, which can feel tender when touched, bleed easily, and can turn into an ulcer.
It can be easily treatable if caught early.
Meaden said she removed the cancer after she returned from her trip to Africa and now hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of sun damage and make people aware of some of the signs.
“When I say I was lucky, we got it incredibly early. Now I’m evangelical in telling people, if you have a weird little pimple that’s wrong, don’t just think it’s a pimple, ”she added.
“I’ve always looked for moles, I know all the rules about moles, I’ve never looked for something that really looked like a white head.”
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The businesswoman admits she may never have spotted the sign if it weren’t for her makeup artist.
Although she is currently “completely free” of skin cancer, apart from a few scaly patches, which are treated with one cream, she has been told that she could risk another one.
Meaden says she is now doing everything she can to protect her skin from the sun.
“My prognosis is factor 50, I wear a hat when I’m out all the time and look at my skin. If I get something that doesn’t feel right, I won’t experience it and expect it to go away, I’ll have it checked. I have regular skin checks on all of my skin, “she continued.
What is non-melanoma skin cancer?
Non-melanoma skin cancer includes:
Cancer Research UK states that most skin cancers other than melanoma tend to develop more often on sun-exposed skin.
There is a high cure rate for these cancers, with most people diagnosed only needing minor surgery, with no further treatment.
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Around 156,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, but Cancer Research UK believes the figure could be higher as they are easy to treat and cure. This makes it by far the most common type of cancer.
Earlier this year, skin cancer cases were revealed to have reached a record high in England, with around one in five people affected in their lifetime.
There were 224,000 skin cancers registered in England in 2019 and more than 1.4 million between 2013 and 2019, according to data analyzed by NHS Digital and the British Association of Dermatologists.
Experts believe that aging populations and improving the way cancers are reported are behind the increase.
The blame could also be the increase in sun exposure and people who go on vacation abroad.
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Preventing non-melanoma skin cancer
Although non-melanoma skin cancer isn’t always preventable, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of developing it, including avoiding overexposure to UV rays.
The NHS recommends protecting yourself from sunburn by using a high factor sunscreen, dressing sensibly in the sun, and limiting the amount of time you spend in the sun during the hottest part of the day.
They also recommend avoiding sunbeds and sunlamps.
Regularly checking the skin for signs of skin cancer can help lead to an early diagnosis and increase the chances of treatment success.