A Golfer Like Me

Owen Scott Reid

About me
I’m a keen ‘once a week’ golfer, and enjoy nothing more than playing off 8 at my local club. I have had my own gardening business for over 20 years, and am what you would call an ‘outdoor kind of person’.

I am pretty good when it comes to sun protection; it’s just a habit I have taken on, which many of my generation have not. I always use sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat when mowing and an umbrella for shade when weeding. When playing golf, I apply sunscreen before and during play, and bring out the umbrella when waiting for my turn, which I do get ribbed about!

My experience

In 2015 I remember having what appeared to be a spot, which for six months just wouldn’t clear up. I thought this was rather odd and with my interest piqued, I went to my GP who suggested that I visit a skin specialist at my local hospital. Before booking the appointment, she asked me to remove my shirt, and to my surprise she found another, similar lesion between my shoulder blades.

One week later, I was seen at Addenbrookes Hospital, in Cambridge, which lucky for me is renowned for its excellence in cancer treatment and research. I was seen by a great surgeon and was surprised to find out it was Basal Cell Carcinoma; a type of skin cancer.

Although the operation was uncomplicated, it was not what I imagined, being a lot more invasive. Adding to that, two weeks later they needed to take more out from my back, which was something I needed to really prepare myself for.

After these two operations, the long-term outcome for this area is good, however I am just about to have a fourth surgery, this time underneath my eye. I have been told that my skin is very susceptible to UV light and although my habits did not completely save my skin, they will have most certainly prevented a worse outcome.

What I have learned
We are all taking risks if don’t sun protect, because how well do we all really know our skin and its vulnerabilities, until something like this happens? In addition, knowing the diagnostic signs of skin cancer is important, as early detection is so vital.

My new routine
I continue to protect my skin every day, rain or shine, and will continue doing so. My children (fully grown adults now) worry about me, so I do what I can to minimise that, and also eliminate the chances of going back to hospital.

My advice
Get to know your skin and wise up on skin cancer. If you find something odd or worrying, trust your instincts and get it checked by your GP immediately.

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