Man struck by warning sign of killer disease while out walking his dog

Skin cancer: Dr Chris outlines the signs of a melanoma

Robert Dolan was taking his dog for a walk when he noticed something strange.

The 72-year-old from Brooklands in Trafford spotted that his foot started bleeding.

The foster carer, who has opened his home to hundreds of young people over the years, never imagined this was a warning sign of a devastating disease.

Unfortunately, the granddad was diagnosed with melanoma in 2021 after the walking incident occurred.

Melanoma refers to a type of skin cancer that can spread to other areas of your body, the NHS explains.

READ MORE Wart or skin cancer – expert shares the tell-tale signs to spot

Robert underwent surgery to remove the lump in his foot in February but his biopsy revealed that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and lungs.

The dad of two, who served in the RAF and has been married to his wife Irene for 39 years, was referred to cancer centre The Christie for further treatment.

The first immunotherapy drug he tried unfortunately didn’t work, so he was moved to a combination therapy with the immunotherapy drugs, nivolumab and ipilimumab.

While the first four treatments took place at The Christie in Withington, Robert is now having cancer treatment in his own home thanks to the centre’s “at home” team.

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The familiar environment has been a comfort to him, making him feel more relaxed.

He told Manchester Evening News: “The chair I sit in at home is more comfortable than in hospital, and I can have the dogs around me distracting me. 

“It’s like having someone put a warm blanket around you when you feel poorly.”

The good news is that his most recent PET scan showed no sign of the disease progressing in his lungs, which means his treatment team wants to start him on radiotherapy for his lymph nodes.

What are the symptoms of melanoma?

One of the key things to look out for with melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or changes in an existing mole.

The NHS recommends seeing a GP if:

  • You have a mole that’s changed size, shape or colour
  • You have a mole that’s painful or itchy
  • You have a mole that’s inflamed, bleeding or crusty
  • You have a new or unusual mark on your skin that has not gone away after a few weeks
  • You have a dark area under a nail that has not been caused by an injury.

The health service adds that detecting skin cancer “as early as possible” can mean it’s easier to treat.

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