Hello to all the wonderful readers of the Miss Chief new website.
I am so honoured to have been asked to contribute to this amazing new website and without wanting to bore you, I thought it would be a good idea to just give you a little background on me and the reason I am covering as much as I can to do with health & wellbeing and how important it is to look after yourself on the inside as well as the outside.
My name is Di Cannon and I have lived in Liverpool all my life….all 50 years of them. I have had the good fortune of being raised by a very loving family and although I doubt my mum, after having 4 children, was expecting to have another little bundle of joy at the age of 40, she did and here I am to tell the tale.
My parents worked hard all their life and that’s the environment I was raised in. I left school and started work at the National Girobank 2 weeks before my 17th birthday and having served the company for 25 years, I finally left in 2008 to start my own consultancy business and I have never looked back.
My company helps other businesses grow by getting them ready for finance/funding…..now before you turn off, I am not going to put you to sleep about double-digit growth or Brexit, there is actually a reason I need you to know this as working with so many companies over the years opened my eyes to my passion and that is health & well being. Some of the business owners have looked at me as though I have gone a little mad when I tell them they must create a happier & healthier workplace because ultimately if staff are happy & healthy then they perform at their best….I think we can all relate to that. I now get the best of everything as my business owners listen and make changes wherever possible to do this so I can put my passion and business together and make a real difference.
Sadly in 2013 I was hit with a personal tragedy when my niece who was re diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and this vile disease killed her in December 2014 at the young age of 38. Claire was originally diagnosed in early 2000 when her mum spotted a mole on her back that just didn’t look right. After a number of visits to doctors and finally an oncologist, she was diagnosed with early stages of melanoma. Back in 2000 I don’t think any of us would know what melanoma was, we certainly didn’t think it was a killer but it was and it is. Claire had her mole removed and was given the ‘all clear’ 3 years later. We now sadly know, you never really get the all clear and in 2013 when taking a shower she found a lump under her arm which turned out to be stage four melanoma. The following 12 months went by with chemotherapy, radiation and then finally she was days away from getting on a new melanoma drug trial only to find there was a tumour on her brain.
This photo was taken on her wedding day 2 years before she died.
Claire suffered so much in her final weeks and when she died I vowed to do whatever i could to help others know exactly what melanoma is and how to protect your body. So i don’t overload you, this information will come in various topics but for now I want to highlight to check your body for that Ugly Duckling….the mole that “just don’t look right”
Melanoma diagnosed in its early stage can be successfully treated by surgery. If a melanoma is discovered when still less than 1mm thick, the prognosis is excellent.
Checking yourself and your loved ones
Check your entire body regularly, including skin not normally exposed to the sun. You should ask for help from someone else to check difficult-to-see areas, such as your back, neck and scalp. Follow the ‘Ugly Duckling’ method – if you notice a mole or skin lesion that looks out of place or feels different from the others, see a doctor.
Skin Self Examination
It’s important to check your skin, preferably on a regular basis. The best time to do this is after a bath or shower in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror.
You can use a hand-held mirror to look at areas that are hard to see, such as the backs of your thighs. You might get a spouse or close friend or family member to help you with these exams, especially for hard-to-see areas like your back or scalp.
The first time you examine your skin, spend time carefully going over the entire surface. Learn the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles, and other marks on your skin so that you’ll notice any changes next time. If you look at your skin regularly, you will know what’s normal for you. Be sure to show your doctor any areas that concern you.
Follow the step by step instructions in the Mole Map to examine your skin and keep a log:
The ABCDEs of melanoma
Melanomas can often be detected using the ABCDE system, although not all melanoma lesions show these characteristics:
Asymmetry: two halves of the mole are different from one another
Border: the edges of the mole are poorly defined. It is ragged, notched, blurred or an irregular shape
Colour: the colour is uneven with shades of black, brown and tan. Melanomas may also be white, grey, red, pink or blue
Different: from other lesions (ugly duckling) there is a change, particularly an increase, in size. Melanomas are usually bigger than the end of a pencil (6mm)
Getting a professional skin check
If you are at increased risk of melanoma, including having had melanoma before, you and your partner are advised to learn to recognize suspicious lesions. You should also discuss professional skin monitoring with your doctor.
What else to look for
- Melanomas can appear as a new spot or an existing spot, freckle or mole that has changed in colour, shape or size.
- Sometimes melanomas may bleed or be itchy, and they may become raised quickly and catch on clothing.
- While many melanoma are multi-coloured, they can also be white or the same colour as your skin.
- Some types of melanoma develop over a period of weeks or months, while others tend to develop more slowly.
- Nodular melanomas are a type that grow rapidly and need to be removed urgently. They are most often found on the head and neck and in older people, particularly men. They are raised, firm and often uniform in colour.
- A melanoma that shows multi-colouring.