In May 2022, we launched our Skin Cancer Appeal raising funds for a new ultrasound scanner for the Melanoma Service at Leeds Cancer Centre.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we reached our target to purchase this innovative technology, helping to detect the recurrence or spread of cancer quicker for skin cancer patients. 

Read More: Tamsin's Story - Skin Cancer Appeal

The scanner is now in use at Leeds Cancer Centre and will benefit hundreds of patients every year, like 86-year-old Alan who regularly visits the hospital for treatment and check ups after being diagnosed in 2021. 

Alan noticed a small lump on his forehead and didn’t think much of it but his wife Sylvia asked him to go to the GP to get it checked out for peace of mind.

A biopsy was taken, and Alan was referred to Dewsbury for a small operation to try and remove the melanoma and determine if it had spread. Alan was told the devastating news that he had a very aggressive form of cancer which was incurable.

Recently, Alan was one of the first patients to benefit from the new charity-funded scanner for the melanoma department at Leeds Cancer Centre.

Patient Alan being examined using the new ultrasound scanner

The new scanner means that in just one appointment, patients can be told if their cancer is stable or has spread to their lymph nodes. The equipment helps improve outcomes for patients like Alan by identifying if someone’s cancer has spread to their lymph nodes earlier then their chance of survival is up to 85%.

Alan is now undergoing daily radiotherapy treatment over two weeks, in the hope this will shrink the lump in his neck and in mid-March will start his next course of cannula treatment.

Read More: Leeds Cancer Centre

This year, Alan and his wife Sylvia will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, and Alan says she has been his rock throughout this journey:

“Sylvia always puts me first, she insists on coming to every single hospital visit to keep me company. The endless appointments, scans and treatment have taken over our lives, it’s on my mind all the time. It’s been emotionally and physically draining, and some of the side affects of treatment have left me bed bound for a few days. Our daughters have also been a great support system, one lives overseas and the other closer by. I don’t like to ask too much of them but I know that they’re here for me if I need them, even if it’s just to pop to the shop to get some essentials.”

We spoke to Clinical Nurse Specialist Helen about the difference this will make for her patients:

“When I first started working at Leeds Cancer Centre, we would see new patients every 18 months, it was heart-breaking to watch those we had become so close to, die of stage four cancer. Now, thanks to new treatments, more people with skin cancer can survive, but our patients still need to come into clinic every few months for a check-up, to make sure their cancer hasn’t come back, or worse, spread to their lymph nodes.

“The new ultrasound scanner funded by Leeds Hospitals Charity means that in just one appointment, I’ll be able to tell my patients whether they have the ‘all clear’ or need to come in for treatment, no more agonising weeks waiting by phone. I’m so grateful to everyone who has donated, this equipment will help us save thousands of lives each year. If someone’s cancer has spread to their lymph nodes and we can catch it early, their chance of survival is up to 85%.”