Jamie Cundy

Golf Manager and PGA Advanced Fellow Golf Professional at Calderfields Golf & Country Club.

Having been a professional sportsman all his adult life, Jamie Cundy has spent the majority of his time either playing golf for a living or teaching the game to amateur golfers and other professionals.

His melanoma story proves that knowing your skin as well as regular health checks is always a good thing and a valuable lesson for those who may not think visiting their GP is a priority.

My story
In 2014 I made an appointment with my GP because I had a persistent earache (unrelated to any cancer symptoms) and it was at this appointment that the doctor noticed a small mole on my left forearm, of which I had never really taken any notice.

He immediately sent me off for a biopsy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. I endured the outcome wait without a thought for the result; cancer never crossed my mind. I was completely shocked two weeks later when told by my GP I had an aggressive form of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. I returned to the hospital a week later to have the cancer removed.

Further to this, I underwent two successful operations on my left arm, which removed the cancer cells completely, leaving only a scar. It certainly turned my world upside down; developing skin cancer is something that I never thought I would be prone to, but looking back I now know how naïve and lucky I was.

I am fair-skinned with red hair and have a lot of moles, a triple whammy trait that is right up there on the scale of vulnerability to skin cancer. Add the fact I have worked outdoors for most of my life, with a pretty lousy sun protection habit, and trouble was just waiting to happen.

It was only the earache that got me to my GP, resulting in an early diagnosis, which meant I was treated quickly and successfully. But it could have been much worse. I now make sure that I give my skin a regular check, and protect myself from the sun at certain times of the day. Importantly, I will never put myself in a situation where I will let my skin burn.

Following my experiences, I am keen to ensure that fellow golfers – as well as others working outdoors – are aware of ways to avoid heightening the risk of skin cancer. As well as the Melanoma Fund, I also work at the forefront of raising awareness with Macmillan and cancer specialists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

I’ve spoken to a few pros about the fact that skin cancer is now epidemic and golfers are at a high risk, but most still neglect sun protection. This has got to change and it starts with education and awareness, something the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign offers everyone in golf.

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