Philippa Spurway Interior Architect

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Malignant Melanoma

The one thing I did not mention in my last posting in August 2012 was that I had recently been diagnosed with the most aggressive form of cancer a malignant melanoma.

In June 2012 I had noticed a tiny black dot on my upper arm, in the centre of a very small patch of skin, which had no pigment on. I immediately thought this is not good and went to my GP. Luckily I immediately got referred to Hammersmith Hospital skin cancer clinic, where they instantly removed that area and discovered it was a malignant melanoma.

After two more operations the doctors hoped they had removed all the cancer. All that you can have as treatment after these operations is to get your skin thoroughly looked at all over you body and get your glands checked by the consultant, every three months for the next five year.


I was also told that I could never ever go in the sun again or I would die. From now on whenever I was in a hot country I would have to make sure I did not go walking about in the sun between 10am and 4pm without being extremely well protected, by completely covering up in thickly woven clothing, very high factor sun cream and possibly even a parasol. 

I have naturally strawberry blond hair and lots of freckles and I found out that such people are most susceptible to malignant melanomas. I then realised how stupid I had been to have ever loved sitting in the warm sun.

When on holiday in Montenegro in July 2012 I had just had my last lot of stitches out and was feeling extremely vulnerable, in a sort of state of shock about what had just happened and how drastically my outdoor habits and activities had got to change.

Overnight I had to change my life from being a very outdoors sort of person, into someone I just did not know how to be and definitely I could no longer go on holiday to hot countries.

What was I now going to do about my future life in Montenegro?


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The sun in all it's dangerous glory