Sunbed addict who went to tanning salon after giving birth has skin cancer
A mum was so addicted to sunbeds that she went straight to the tanning salon after giving birth – but ended up being diagnosed with skin cancer.
Jenni Brady, 28, had been hooked on sunbeds since her teens – first using the dangerous tanning devices aged 12 – and would top up her tan every day at the height of her obsession.
The mum-of-two, from Sandbach, Cheshire, was unable to get her fix during pregnancy and so went straight to a tanning salon after giving birth to daughter Stella.
But after a skin cancer diagnosis in 2013 and six operations, barista Jenni is so paranoid the cancer will come back she has taken photos of every mole on her body and refuses to let daughter Stella, now nine, wear a bikini on holiday.
Jenni, who is hoping the machines will be banned before her daughter is old enough to follow in her footsteps, said: "As a mum, it was horrific to be told I have cancer.
"I'll never forget the day when they told me and the first thing I asked them was 'am I going to die?' and they couldn't tell me.
"I'll never forget going to tell my family that I didn't know if I was going to die, I had two young children. Stella is very pale, so I'm very conscious about that because she burns, even in the UK.
"I wouldn't be happy if she wanted to go on a sunbed, I'd probably ban her from doing that. I would like to think they'll be banned by the time she's that age.
"I worry about Stella all the time. On sports day and when we go on holiday, she is covered head to toe. She can't wear a bikini, she wears a t-shirt."
Jenni, who grew up in Liverpool, first got a taste for tanning salons as a 12-year-old schoolgirl, but her hobby became an addiction by the time she turned 16.
She said: "The older girls had tans and I was desperate to be just like them.
"I remember being worried the first time I went and I thought they might stop us, but no one ever asked how old we were.
"I'd go in every day on my way home from school and, even if I burned and my skin was red raw, I'd keep on going back.
"My parents told me to stop, but I'd hide it from them. I'd go straight upstairs when I got home from school and if my dad ever asked why I was red I'd tell him I'd been out running.
"I came back from hospital after giving birth to my daughter and the first thing I did was go to the sunbed salon.
"I hadn't been on all through my pregnancy but I desperate to get back on them and feel the warmth on my skin – that's how addicted I was."
After being given the all clear from cancer after having part of her leg removed in 2013, Jenni has since had six moles removed and still has regular check-ups with a dermatologist for 'peace of mind'.
Ironically, she credits having a spray tan with saving her life after a beautician spotted an unusual-looking mole on her right leg during a home tanning session in 2013 and told her to get it checked out.
Even this didn't deter Jenni from her sunbed addiction, but she did eventually decide to see a dermatologist who revealed she had potentially deadly skin cancer.
In order to save her life, Jenni was forced to have a 'chunk' taken out of her leg which has left her too self-conscious to wear dresses.
She said: "The beautician spotted the mole and mentioned she'd noticed it had changed shape over the weeks she'd been tanning me.
"But even though I knew it was there, I didn't do anything about it and carried on going on the sunbeds.
"I'd even joke about it – I remember saying to the woman in the sunbed centre 'I've come to tan my mole'.
"It was only after Lauren, my tanner, really started to nag me that I finally went to see someone so if it hadn't been for her I would have carried on ignoring it.
"The dermatologist told me straight away that it was really serious and that I'd need to have some tests.
"When I got the results back, it was a melanoma stage one which meant it was in the early stages.
"I ended up having four operations in two-and-a-half years – three on my leg and one for another mole on my stomach."
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