I loved the perks of my job but it’s left me with a HUGE scar winding down the side of my face | The Sun

A GRANDMA is urging people to ditch the sunbeds for fake tan, after a job perk left with deadly skin cancer and a huge scar on her face.

Ex-sunbed shop worker, Michelle Stevens, would take up the offer of free tanning as a perk of the job.

"You were sort of encouraged to use them because you were selling the product," the mum-of-two, from a town near Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, said.

After a three-year break from going on sunbeds, the 47-year-old was diagnosed with melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – she noticed a mole on her face had changed shape.

Michelle, who now works as a trauma support facilitator, believed the cancer was caused by the tanning beds, which she would use up to three times a week between 2014 and 2020 for 18 minutes at a time.

"When the doctor told me [of the diagnosis] the first thing I thought was 'I'm going to die'," she explained.

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"I wanted to see my kids grow up and see my grandson grow up and I didn't know how they were going to cope without me," she added.

Michelle underwent a 45-minute surgery in Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil to have the mole removed.

The life-saving surgery left her with a huge winding scar down the side of her face.

She said: "The stitches were covered for two days and when I took it off I was a bit conscious as I was working in a school at the time.

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"The kids were like, 'what's that on your face?'.

She's now waiting to have another surgery to cut out more of the cancer, which medics say could leave her with an even deeper wound.

"They've told me it is going to be a bit more of a scar on my face this time [after the next operation] and said it might be a bit bumpy," she explained.

Bizarrely the gran's mole was in almost the exact same spot Khloe Kardashian had a ‘zit-like’ bump removed that also turned out to be melanoma – and featured on the latest season of The Kardashians.

Michelle supported celebs like Khloe Kardashian raising awareness of their diagnosis online.

"People seem to listen more to them [celebrities] and everyone seems to be talking about it on TikTok," she said.

Michelle has vowed never to go on sunbeds again and is sharing her ordeal so no-one else goes through the same thing she has.

"My message to people 'addicted' to sunbeds is don't do it, it's not worth the risk.

"It’s health before vanity.

"There’s plenty of lotions for fake tanning that you can use now, I'd go for that option now if you're wanting to tan."

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and is diagnosed 17,500 times a year.

The deadly disease claims the lives of 2,340 people annually, according to Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

It develops on skin that has been exposed to too much sun. 

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Survival rates are very high, with 87 per cent of patients living at least 10 years after their diagnosis.

But if left untreated, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, brain, lungs and bones.

Skin cancer symptoms

The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole, such as a:

  1. Mole with a mix of colours
  2. Large mole
  3. Mole that changes over time
  4. Swollen mole
  5. Bleeding mole
  6. Itchy mole
  7. Crusty mole
  8. Mole in the shape of a line under a nail

In women in the UK, the most common location for melanoma skin cancers is the legs.

Men are more likely to see melanomas in their trunk – the back or torso.

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