Mum’s warning after itchy back turned out to be skin cancer

A mum was shocked to discover that an itchy mole on her back turned out to be skin cancer. She’s now urging others to get checked out.

Gill Liiv-Rochester, from County Durham, kept scratching her back but was unaware there was a mole there. Luckily her daughter de ella Emme, now 13, suggested that Gill should see a doctor.

At first the 36-year-old didn’t think it was anything serious, but was later diagnosed with two malignant melanomas in April 2020 after a second mole was found on her shoulder, Chronicle Live reports. Now the mum-of-two is hosting a fundraising event for the charity Melanoma-Me, which raises awareness about skin cancer and provides support for patients and their families.

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Gill also wants to raise awareness of skin cancer and is urging others to get checked out if they’re worried. She explained: “I had a mole but I did n’t realize it was there as it was on my lower back de ella. My daughter said to me: ‘Mam you keep scratching your back what’s the matter?’ She said maybe I should get it checked out.”

Gill Liiv-Rochester, who was diagnosed with two malignant melanomas, with her fiance Darren

“Looking back now I didn’t realize how exhausted I was and my skin was really dry. I thought it would be nothing or something very minor. When I went to the doctors, they asked how long I had had the mole on my shoulder but I had no idea I had one there.

“It all happened really fast. I saw the GP in the middle of the week and by Monday I was being operated on.

“I was told malignant melanomas are the most severe and aggressive form and by six to eight weeks it would spread to my organs – I never realized it was that serious. Thankfully it was stage one.”

Gill now wants to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer and said she believes people still assume melanoma is cured once it’s removed.

She said: “With skin cancer, a lot of people think it’s not that serious and you just get it removed and that’s it but it’s not that at all. I’m still recovering from another biopsy I had but I’m getting there.

“People ask me whether they should get a mole checked out and I would always say to just get it checked out. It could be nothing but it may be something.”

Gill is now organizing a fundraising event in June to help raise money for Melanoma-Me which she said have been “amazing”. She said: “I didn’t get in contact with them immediately but they’ve just been amazing. They were crying out to get people to help and they were struggling with funds and I just thought I need to give something back.

“It really helps to talk to other people going through a similar experience to you. I think unless you’ve gone through you can never fully understand it but Melanoma-Me have been so supportive, I can’t thank them enough.”

The event will be held at Seaham Park Cricket Club on Sunday, June 26 where there will be raffles, auctions, and food stalls. Anyone who wants to donate prizes for the raffle can contact Gill through her Facebook page.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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