A Golfer Like Me

Alan Clavering

Getting a cancer diagnosis at 65 was a dreadful shock and the treatment was traumatic. There is no ‘just’ in skin cancer.

My experience
The first operation removed a growth from my nose, with a skin graft taken from my shoulder. A later biopsy revealed this had not removed all the cancer cells and I had to immediately return to hospital for further treatment.

A second operation included a ‘forehead flap’ procedure, where an incision is made from adjacent to the skin cancer site up to the forehead, and the portion of skin is then folded back over the newly incised cancer site. Believe me, it wasn’t pretty.

This ‘folded flap’ stayed in place for around three weeks until it grew into its new position and the blood vessels and nerves settled. I was in and out of hospital for some weeks during this treatment for check-ups and dressing changes. After this, three years of regular hospital appointments followed, and my GP insisted on seeing me on a regular basis for another two years.

What I have learned
I am now 76 and still love a round of golf and I count my blessings every day. If it wasn’t for the swift actions and brilliant work of the doctors, nurses and all staff at the NHS, the outcome could have been very different. By simply being sensible and using sun protection I could have avoided all of this, but hindsight is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

My new routine
My surgeon has insisted that moving forward I wear a hat covering both the top of my head and my ears and to apply SPF50 sunscreen on all exposed skin areas; which I do every day, summer and winter.

My advice
Please read my story and make up your own mind, but please remember to slip, slap swing!

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