Skin cancer survivor Kenneth – ‘If you delay and don’t get it seen to, the consequences could be life-threatening’

Kenneth Giles knows through personal experience the consequences that leaving his skin cancer diagnosis for much longer could have had for him.

When the stage school manager from Kilbarrack noticed a worrying sign on his face in the form of an unusual pimple, he went straight to the doctor and was able to have it removed with relative ease.

Kenneth was conscious that the longer you leave a cancer, even a relatively ‘small’ one, the more serious the diagnosis can become, both cosmetically and in terms of survival outcomes.

“My own grandfather lost his ear to skin cancer. When you’re a small kid you don’t really understand why it was, but in time I came to realise what had happened to him. But as always with these things, even for him it could have been much worse,” says Kenneth of the eye-opening experience.

Although it is always difficult to receive any form of cancer diagnosis, Kenneth says he is thankful he was able to deal with it promptly to avoid further complications in future.

“My story is miniscule compared to what other people are going through.

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It was two surgeries and that was the end of it.

“After being referred by my GP to have the spot looked at, I told the consultant that I might get the odd bit of sunburn going on sun holidays, but no more so than any other person might.

“He explained to me that getting burned every year meant the skin was never healing, and burn on top of burn would cause damage. Now I’m Factor 50 every time, I have it in my moisturiser where even on a bad day I’ll still have it on me just to be extra-safe.”

“You don’t think cancer will ever come knocking on your door, until it does. Skin cancers are really survivable and quite easily dealt with if you’re aware of the signs and act early, but as with any form of the disease if you delay and don’t get it seen to, the consequences could be life-threatening.”

More information on skin cancer

Visit for helpful information on how to be Skin Smart about signs and symptoms of skin cancer

Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.

Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Roz, Cancer Nurseline

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