- Daniela Bolton was diagnosed with melanoma after using sunbeds twice weekly
- For two years she turned to sunbeds to treat her itchy and inflamed eczema
- The 24-year-old from Edinburgh is now warning others that it is ‘not worth the risk’
A 24-year-old eczema sufferer, who used sunbeds because she thought they would stop her itching, has told how her addiction left her with skin cancer.
Daniela Bolton of Edinburgh used the bed for up to 12 minutes at a time twice a week for two years because the cream proved useless.
But on a shopping trip with her 65-year-old grandmother, Linda, in February 2017, the sales administrator noticed a mole on her back, otherwise blemish-free.
After being referred to a dermatologist by her GP, Miss Bolton was told the mole was cancerous and she had melanoma.
Now cancer-free after undergoing a biopsy, Ms Bolton is urging others to stop using tanning beds, warning it is ‘not worth the risk’.
Sunbeds give off UV rays that can be stronger than in the afternoon sun in tropical countries, leading to a higher risk of skin cancer.
Sunlight can help ease eczema symptoms by reducing inflammation and itching, so phototherapy — the medical use of ultraviolet light — can be used to treat the condition.
But it should only be used if topical treatments don’t work. And if it is recommended, it should be done by a medical professional rather than a commercial sunbed.
Daniella Bolton, a resident of Edinburgh, was diagnosed with skin cancer after sunbathing twice a week for 12 minutes over two years.
She turned to sunbeds after being unable to manage her sore and itchy skin through eczema creams
The Edinburgh sales administrator had been suffering from inflamed and itchy skin (left) for years and tried ‘every cream and lotion from the doctors’. But after using sunbeds twice a week for two years, she noticed a mole on her back (right)
Miss Bolton said: ‘I was a sunbed addict. I used to go all the time, maybe two or three times a week.’
She started using them when she was 18, after reading that UV lights could reduce inflammation from eczema, which she suffered from on her hands and feet.
Miss Bolton said: ‘Over the years I have tried every cream and lotion from doctors.
‘Nothing was really working and if it worked it would only work for a while and then it would flare up again and it wouldn’t go away.
‘It was really itchy and embarrassing.
‘Obviously doing this would also give me a nice tan, which I was quite happy with, so I just kept going.’
Are sunbeds safe?
Sunbeds give off ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing both skin cancer (melanoma) and skin cancer (non-melanoma).
Many sunbeds give off a higher dose of UV rays than the afternoon tropical sun.
The risks are higher for young people. Evidence shows that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 have a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Sunbeds, lamps and tanning booths give off the same harmful radiation as sunlight.
UVA rays make up about 95 percent of sunlight.
They can prematurely age your skin, making it look rough, leathery and wrinkled.
UVB rays make up about 5 percent of sunlight and burn your skin.
Tan is your body’s attempt to protect itself from the harmful effects of UV rays. Using a sunbed to get a tan is not safer than tanning in the sun.
It can be even more harmful, depending on factors such as: the strength of the UV rays from the sunbed, how often you use the sunbed, the length of your sunbed sessions, your skin type and your age.
But while trying on a dress in a River Island changing room in February 2017, just after her 20th birthday, she noticed a mole on her back.
Miss Bolton said: ‘It was not big at all, it was dark brown and slightly raised.
‘I don’t have any spots, moles or freckles on my back, so it was pretty obvious to me.
‘As soon as I saw it, I remembered ‘What is this?’ I was with my maternal grandfather at that time and I asked him to see it too.
‘When it didn’t go well, I thought I should go to the doctor and get it checked.’
When it had not gone away even after two months, she went to her GP.
Miss Bolton had a biopsy in May.
A few weeks later she was told she had melanoma.
Miss Bolton said: ‘When I heard the word melanoma I was really distressed and questioned it my whole life. I thought “Oh my god am I going to die? What’s going to happen?” I was so worried.
‘It was very disturbing. I talked to my maternal grandfather about it and I just kept saying to him “Am I going to die? Will I be okay?”
‘I had never heard of anyone my age, I just started questioning everything.’
In July of that year, he had an operation at St John’s Hospital in Livingston to remove more tissue and a lymph node biopsy to check whether the cancer had spread.
Investigations revealed that she was quite frank, in what Miss Bolton described as ‘the best day of her life’.
He said: ‘The mole itself was really small. I have a scar under my left arm from where they tested my lymph nodes.
‘The scar on my back is a few centimeters larger than the mole, but I’m grateful that everything cleared up and I didn’t need further treatment.’
‘I really felt it was the best day of my life when the results came out clear, I was shedding tears of joy because it was such a relief.’
Now, Miss Bolton never goes on sunbeds and is urging others to do the same.
After removing the mole and undergoing tests, doctors revealed that Miss Bolton was cancer free. He now has a scar on his back from where the mole was removed, as well as a scar under his left arm from where they tested his lymph nodes
Miss Bolton said: ‘Sunbeds are now a thing of the past, I don’t go in anymore.
‘I never want to go through this again, it was awful.
‘I’m definitely a reformed sunbed addict. Now if I want a good tan I…