A Golfer Like Me

Wayne Mayo

Wayne Mayo is 42 and has played golf for 22 years. He plays off a handicap of three and is currently the Men’s Derbyshire County Captain.

About me
I love golf and play as much as I can. I enjoy 36-hole events and but would never apply sunscreen, mainly because I didn’t want a greasy grip, simply relying on a baseball cap to keep my head covered.

My experience
In July this year my wife (a skin cancer nurse specialist) noticed some blood on the side of my face next to my ear. I told her it was ‘just a spot and not to worry’. She ignored me (just like I had ignored her pleas for me to wear sunscreen) and took a photo insisting it looked suspicious.

Ten days later it had tripled in size and I was ordered straight to my GP and then referred onto a 2 week wait appointment at Derby Hospital. After a minor operation to have it removed and biopsied, the results came back as a Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) a non-melanoma skin cancer.

A SCC, just like other forms of skin cancer is mainly due to too much exposure to UV light. This causes the DNA of skin cells in the outer layer of the skin to change. Sometimes this causes the skin cells to grow out of control and develop into an SCC.

Although this is a low risk skin cancer and can be cured, SCC can recur locally and/or spread to the lymph nodes and from there into other parts of the body. Although I was lucky to catch it early, for the next 3 years, my skin and my lymph nodes have to be checked regularly, and that is a continued stress and reminder that this situation was preventable.

What I have learned
I thought ‘cancer’ happened to other people, but I now know more about the huge risks, I kick myself for not listening to my wife, and simply creating a set of good habits, looking after my skin.

My new routine
With the gift of hindsight, I now never forget to use sun protection.

My advice
If you play or work in golf and think sun protection is for others, please think again. No matter what your age or your type, remember to cover up before you get out on the course and always re-apply.

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