Ryan was diagnosed with melanoma in 2017, after he noticed bleeding from a birthmark behind his right ear.
“The mark was the size of a 20p coin, and I had it since birth. It had never worried me and was not growing, so I thought at first the bleeding was to do with the fact I regularly shave my head. But my partner, Vicky, was worried because I discovered blood on the pillow one day after not shaving my head.
“In March 2017 I finally went to the GP, as the bleeding had continued. I was referred for an urgent appointment at the hospital and the consultant I saw was concerned enough to want to remove the birthmark. That was in April 2017, and Vicky and I then went on our delayed honeymoon.
“We were on a beach holiday in Mexico, when I got a message from the melanoma clinic to say that the biopsy had shown the birthmark was cancerous. It was a shock to get the actual diagnosis.”
Ryan had further surgery to remove another 1 ½ inches from all round the scar and grafted skin from his leg to patch his head.
“The surgeon took all my lymph nodes on the right-hand side, and it was a relief to find out that there was no cancer in any of them. But I was still classified Stage 2b because the cancer was an aggressive form of melanoma.
“If I had left it another six months, I would have progressed to stage 3 or 4 and become untreatable.
“I did not require any chemo following the surgery and have been monitored with check-ups every six months, although that was a bit out of kilter during COVID.
“Two further moles have been removed from my back as a result of the check-ups, but both were negative for cancer.
“I have done fundraising challenges for Cancer Research UK and was prompted not only by my own experience, but a friend being diagnosed with cancer in January that year - sadly, she has since passed.”