Kenton Wright

Head PGA Professional and Director of Golf at Driffield Golf Club.

Ever since he was a young boy, Kenton Wright has loved the great outdoors, which has led to an enjoyable three-decade career as a PGA golfer. Just like many people, especially golfers, Kenton has been exposed to his fair share of UV light, and although he has never suffered from ‘extreme’ sunburn, he does admit to having had occasional, mild sunburn, with little regard for sun protection.

His melanoma story will I hope inspire you to take your own health a little more seriously, even if you think you are not at risk.

My story

In 2015 I noticed a small mole on my right forearm, very slowly increasing in size and shape. Initially I thought nothing of it, however on particularly hot days I’d make sure the area was well protected with sunscreen.

Over time I began to wonder whether to have it looked at; just a niggle at first, but the noise in my head got louder. So diligently, I made an appointment with my local GP and he checked it against a list of possible cancerous moles. Having decided it was worth a second opinion, I was referred to my local hospital, whereby the specialist removed it immediately and sent it away for analysis.

A few days later, I was asked to return to the hospital to be informed I had cancer – melanoma to be precise; the most dangerous form of skin cancer, which if not treated early can travel from the skin to all other areas of your body. Not a great day.

After trawling the internet, I informed myself with the facts on how this cancer works, how aggressive it is, how common its becoming, and how it can be mostly avoided by simply using sun protection and avoiding sunburn. How I wished desperately I’d been more careful.

Surgeons began by removing a larger area to make sure the cancerous skin was completely clear. None of the procedures were particularly uncomfortable, but it was an uncertain and stressful time for both myself, and my family.

On recognition of my condition, I have had consultations with suitably qualified staff to ensure I had no further developing melanomas and to advise me on how I need to be more aware of the risks and also be mindful that it could return.

I now take a vitamin D supplement, use an SPF50 sunscreen and continue to have regular check-ups as well as checking my own skin, something I should have done years ago.

I consider myself lucky and so thankful for going to my GP when I did. Apparently, the skin has three layers and my melanoma had only penetrated the first; in other words, I caught it early, before it travelled, so effectively that trip to my GP saved my life.

My advice is should you notice a changing mole or are worried about a new lesion, take professional advice, immediately. I also recommend upping your game when it comes to sun protection – why wait until you get a cancer diagnosis to start looking after your skin?

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