Like most of us Jade enjoys the little things in life such as spending time with her friends and family, going to events and living life to the fullest. Unfortunately when Jade turned 27 she noticed a mark on her skin that changed her life. Jade reached out to the he-shi team after her experience battling skin cancer to share her story.
"I'm 32 and a lawyer, I live with my partner in the New Forest, I have two dogs who are my whole world Bruce and Rupert. I love spending time with my friends and family, watching live music, having a dance and drinking a few (to many!) wines."
How I found out I had skin cancer
"When I was 27 I noticed a freckle on my right bum cheek (great location ... ha ha!) this was completely new and gradually over a few months it started to get darker and more mole like, it also became slightly raised and had a few different colours in it.
It was only very small, about the diameter of a rubber on the end of a pencil and I probably would not have gone to the Doctors about it which really gives me the shivers in hindsight.
However, I did ask a friend who was a skin specialist to look at it for me, I just thought it was a little odd and she told me to 'Go and see the GP and do not wait around' you always get told to check your moles, but this was completely new and before had just been normal skin.
I went to the GP and they referred me into Dermatology on a two week cancer pathway, I had a biopsy and a few weeks later they called me and told me the shocking news that it was a Melanoma."
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is a potentially serious type of skin cancer. It occurs when the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) in the skin grow unchecked. Non-cancerous growths of melanocytes are known as moles or freckles. It is the fourth most common form of cancer in Ireland. The number of cases of melanoma and the number of deaths from melanoma have been increasing in Ireland over the last 20 years.
What makes melanoma different is that it often occurs in young and middle aged adults. Fortunately, melanoma can be completely cured if it is identified and removed early. You can reduce your risk of melanoma by seeing your doctor if you find a suspicious growth on your skin, and by avoiding excessive UV exposure and sunburns. Nine out of ten cases of skin cancers are caused by UV rays.
What do you think was the cause?
An alarming number of tan lovers they opt for a tanning beds over self tanning lotions. It's common knowledge that sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that have been proven to increase your risk of developing skin cancer, both skin cancer (melanoma) and skin cancer (non-melanoma). Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV rays than the midday tropical sun.
Jade was an avid sun tan and sun bed lover. When asked what she deemed the cause of her skin cancer Jade said; "We all love a beautiful tan and at that stage in my life I was using sunbeds. The fact that it was on my bum cheek, which is not somewhere you would usually expose to sunlight made me pretty sure that it was my use of sunbeds that had given me the most deadly form of skin cancer at the young age of 27 (so not worth it!)."
How has having skin cancer changed your outlook on sunbeds and sunbathing?
"Since my melanoma diagnosis I have not used a sunbed and i wear SPF on a daily basis. No tan is worth losing your life, especially not when you can get an even better one out of a bottle."
With her shocking diagnosis Jades perspective on sun tanning beds changed for good. She turned to self tanners and embarked on a journey to find one that looked like a real sun tan without the life threatening risk.
Why did you choose he-shi self tan?
He-shi tan is known for its natural colour, quick drying formula and of course its natural wear off that fades like a sun tan would. Jade found her perfect match after trying a fair share of tan brands.
"After my melanoma diagnosis, I was on the hunt for the best fake tan I could find, I wanted a sun kissed, holiday glow without the light exposure or risk.
Let’s just say I kissed a few frogs before I found this gorgeous tan, the most perfect colour, my partner doesn't complain about the smell and I can get dressed quickly after applying which fits into my busy lifestyle.
Every Thursday I tan with he-shi and I take the opportunity whilst applying he-shi with a mitt to check over my skin for any changes, this gives me the opportunity to really keep an eye on my skins normal and if I notice any changes I always contact my Doctor."
What advice would you give to others?
"Stay off the sunbeds, stay out of the sun, wear SPF, check your skin for any changes and get anything unusual checked out by your Doctor. Why risk your life for a tan when you can get such a great one from a bottle with he-shi." - Jade Pearson skin cancer survivor.
If you're concerned about changes in your skin or moles please don't hesitate to contact your local GP or dermatologist. Visit the Irish Cancer Association website for more information and helpful advise.