Chris Maguire and Sofiane Rimouche

This photo was taken at 4.16pm on January 6th, 2023 exactly five minutes after I was told I had skin cancer.

The other man in the photo is a consultant plastic surgeon called Sofiane Rimouche, who confirmed that a biopsy taken from my scalp was Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – which is the most common form of skin cancer.

I’m sharing my story for two reasons.

The first is to thank the NHS. Dr Rimouche removed my cancerous lump a fortnight after this photo was taken – one of around 500 similar operations he does every year.

The second reason is because May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and, as well as wanting to dispel some of the myths around the disease, I hope that my story will inspire other people to get their symptoms checked out.

A quick caveat. One person’s Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) can look very different to another’s so rather than diagnosing yourself on Google, see your doctor.

The good news is that BCCs grow slowly and most are curable when caught and treated early.

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The reason I asked Dr Rimouche for a photo within five minutes of the diagnosis was because that’s how long it took me to realise some good could come out of a bad experience.

My own cancer story started in 2022 – although at the time I wasn’t aware the story was even being written.

I was in the shower and I noticed a spot – or lesion – under my hairline on the top of my head.

It was really innocuous and because it was covered by pretty thick hair for a 50-year-old I didn’t think it could be anything nasty.

Bit of background about me.  I’m the person who goes on holiday and sits in the shade with the factor 50 on.  I’ve never been on a sunbed and I wear a cap when I play cricket. People like me don’t get skin cancer? Wrong.

BCCs target the parts of the skin that are exposed to the sun. A lot of golfers, cricketers and people who spend long periods outdoors  are susceptible to them.

I went to the GP and she referred me to see Dr Rimouche in November ‘just to be sure’.

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As soon as he saw the 8mm x 8mm lesion he said it had all the hallmarks of a BCC and referred me for a ‘punch biopsy’.

It was the result of this biopsy that Dr Rimouche gave me on January 6th this year.

I’ve worked together on this blog with Dr Rimouche and he wrote: “Please ensure to go and see your GP or a specialist if you have any doubts about a  skin lesion and any concern whatsoever. Do not ignore it especially if it itches or bleeds.” 

A few skin cancer stats:

1. Rates of skin cancer are increasing faster than any other cancer in the UK.

2. More than 210,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer – which would include BCC – are diagnosed annually in the UK.

3. Over 16,000 cases of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) are diagnosed every year in the UK.

4. Every year around 3,500 people in the UK die of skin cancer – that’s more than in Australia.

As someone who’s had skin cancer I’m more susceptible to getting it again so keep your eyes peeled.

The second part of my skin cancer blog will be published tomorrow.