An Asda employee diagnosed with terminal skin cancer has urged people to be more cautious when applying sun cream.
Dom Edwards found an itchy mole on his back and, after seeking medical advice, the 52-year-old received a skin cancer diagnosis in 2009.
Dom, a senior director for commercial produce at the supermarket chain, has since been told that his cancer is terminal and is now an advocate for taking measures that can prevent skin cancer.
“I don’t remember if I wore enough sun cream when I was child”, he said in quotes reported by Leeds Live.
“I noticed I had a mole on my back in 2008 when I was living in Bristol. I saw several GPs, but they didn’t think it was skin cancer.
“So when I moved to Yorkshire I had a new GP and they referred me straight away to Leeds Teaching Hospital and they operated on me there and then.”
After he was told he had stage four cancer in 2019, Dom was offered immunotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
Thirteen years after his first diagnosis, the dad-of-two, and husband to Lizzie, still lives with the cancer.
Dom has undergone a series of 12 operations and has regular treatment but, after the melanoma spread to his lymph nodes, spine and organs, things aren’t getting any better for him at this stage.
His biggest fear is not seeing his children, 15-year-old Lily and 13-year-old Alfie, grow up.
He said: “I’ve been living with the fear that I might not get to see my kids grow up for years now, but I’ve always been positive and stayed healthy.”
Dom says working at Asda has helped him get through the hard times.
“My journey has really been helped by working here, as Asda have looked after and supported me all the way and have been great employers.
“It was important to me to carry on working, as there are case studies showing that people who give up work and feel sorry for themselves don’t live as long as those who keep working and stay active and positive.
“Asda probably saved my life.”
Now Dom is determined to raise awareness of skin cancer and watching out for the signs – particularly after the UK hit the highest ever recorded temperatures this week.
The 52-year-old said: “I really want to raise awareness of this, as prevention is better than any cure.
“It’s surprisingly common to get skin cancer on your back, especially among men, as they’re more likely to take their shirts of when it’s hot, and it’s quite problematic because you can’t see it yourself.
“You’ve got to be very careful in the sun – it’s scary the harm you can do to yourself by wanting to get a tan.
“I don’t go out in the sun much, but I will never go outside between 1 and 4pm when it’s hot.
“If I go on holiday I never expose myself to the sun. I always wear factor 50 – and even in winter I wear sun cream on my face. I’m really happy that the word is getting out.”
And Dom, who is a media volunteer for Cancer Research UK, isn’t afraid to tell people about the warning signs when he is out and about.
He added: “I go swimming to keep fit and there have been at least three occasions when I’ve gone up to people and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I have seen moles on your back and you need to get them checked out’.”
Dom is a passionate supporter of My Melanoma, a Leeds-based group studying research and treatment for melanoma.