Twenty-five year old Leanne Atherton, from Greater Manchester, who was a regular with sunbeds for 20 minutes a week, for eight years is battling malignant melanoma. Now, she wants to create more awareness about the risks of using sun beds.
She was diagnosed with the condition during a routine medical checkup in June. She had begun using tanning salons as a teenager.
Leanne began her trips to tanning salons when she was 17 and there were times when she spent up to 18 minutes a week on sunbeds.
"As soon as you hear the word cancer you begin to panic and it was really scary. I probably naively thought skin cancer was cut out but malignant melanoma is really serious and can spread to your internal organs. Having to have an operation wasn't a nice experience. But the worst part has been the wait. You try and occupy yourself but it's all you can think about. "
Leanne admits her addiction to tanning and feels she would have stayed sway if she was aware about the risks of using sunbeds.
"I'm not naturally dark and my hair isn't either, so I regularly used to go off to the sun bed shop. A tan is part of looking good. And I think it's addictive as well. You get used to seeing yourself with a tan and when it starts to fade, you go and top it up."
She has advised people to be aware of the risks of skin cancer, to read up and take informed decisions. Research has also shown that sunbeds can up the risk of skin cancer by nearly 75 per cent. Further, those with fair skin and moles should not use sunbeds.