A 21-year-old who claims she has never used tanning beds or even had a serious sunburn in her life, was diagnosed with the deadliest kind of skin cancer.
Darcy, who is now 24 years old, told the Teenage Cancer Trust that her mother pushed her to get a mole on her collarbone examined after noticing it was growing larger and darker.
And good thing that she did because Darcy was diagnosed with melanoma, a rare skin cancer that is more serious than others since it is more likely to spread to other regions of the body.
According to National Institutes of Health data, there were around 99,780 new instances of melanoma in the US in 2022, and 7,650 of those diagnosed have unfortunately passed away.
During an interview for Manchester Evening News, Darcy recalled that “I told them that I had never had any bad sunburns. I have never been in a tanning bed, I have the typical skin type that does have many moles and has to be a little bit more aware of their moles. Other than that, I do not feel like I had put myself at any kind of risk of getting skin cancer.”
Melanoma may affect anybody, but those who have blond hair, light skin that burns quickly in the sun, have lots of moles, and have the disease in their family, have an increased risk.
According to the American Cancer Society, excessive UV radiation exposure via sun exposure or sunbeds is a “major” risk factor for developing melanoma.
Melanoma is one of the most prevalent diseases in those under 30, especially in younger women, according to the American Cancer Society.
The malignant mole on Darcy’s body, which had fortunately not migrated to other areas of her body yet, was surgically removed.
Early detection of melanoma can significantly impact a patient’s prognosis.
For instance, according to data from the American Cancer Society, melanoma patients have a 99 percent chance of surviving for at least five years when the cancer is diagnosed before it spreads.
If, on the other hand, the melanoma had already spread when diagnosed, that chance drops all the way to only 30 percent.
With that in mind, the young woman is now openly talking about her experience in hopes of raising awareness.
“I had no idea about the symptoms and signs of cancer, so I’d also encourage young people to just familiarize themselves with them as it may save their life,” she told the Teenage Cancer Trust.
With that being said, the reactions to her sharing her story have been incredibly positive.
Darcy says that “In the past I have had people who have heard my story say that it encouraged them to check themselves or go to the doctors about a concern they’d been putting off.”