‘Wear sunscreen’: Author Louise Kennedy appeals to others after sharing her melanoma experience

Author Louise Kennedy called on others to wear sunscreen after sharing her experiences of being diagnosed with stage four melanoma.

The Northern Irish writer (54), who grew up in Holywood, County Down, is currently receiving immunotherapy but told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster program that after a trip to hospital , she was in a store where “everyone in front of me seemed to be sunburned”.

“In winter, even on a cloudy day like this, people should wear factor 50,” she said.

Ms Kennedy said she was naturally pale-skinned and was born with “lots of moles on my body”. “Apart from that, I had a few bad sunburns as a child, went on tanning beds a few times in my twenties, went on holiday abroad where I got burned, I lived in the Middle East where I didn’t use sunscreen.”

She said: “I guess by the time I was in my 40s I had nice leathery looking skin, I didn’t come across as a pale person.”

In 2019, there was a mole on her right shoulder blade that changed in appearance. “I went to the doctor with it,” she said. “It was found to contain melanoma cells and they had leaked into the surrounding skin and also got under my skin and traveled to the lymph nodes.”

She underwent surgery but then discovered last September that the cancer had returned “with a bit of a vengeance”.

Her experiences led her to call on her social media followers to always use sunscreen after visiting shops near the hospital where she was being treated. “Everywhere I went to buy gas or buy tea…everyone in front of me seemed to be sunburned.”

Author of the novel Trespasses and a collection of short stories La fin du monde est un cul de sac, Ms. Kennedy was a chef before becoming a writer.

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