FRECKLES are a common skin feature and many people have them.
But one influencer has urged others to be wary of the marks as she says her freckle nearly killed her.
Model Oceana Strachan first noticed the small growth on her skin in 2019.
But just two years later she had a biopsy which confirmed she had stage two melanoma skin cancer.
This is a type of cancer that can spread to other organs in the body.
The main signs of the illness include the appearance of a new mole, or a change in shape, size or colour of an existing one.
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The 26-year-old, who lives in Australia, is now telling her story to warn others of the dangers of spending too much time in the sun – which she believes was the cause of her cancer.
After growing concerned about the freckle, she visited the doctor, who she claims said the mark had been 'harmless'.
Two years later, she became even more worried and went back to medics.
Taking to Instagram she said: "I noticed changes like itching that raised a red flag for me which is why I persisted for a biopsy."
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Oceana was recently married and had a baby on the way and remembers thinking 'I don't want to die this young'.
She said she had constantly been exposed to the sun during her childhood.
In a new documentary, titled Skin Deep, she explained: "I remember summers as a 15-, 16-, 17-year-old.
"It would be 8 o’clock in the morning to 4 o’clock in the afternoon, you build this base tan and I would feel reluctant to wear sunscreen because I wouldn’t burn after that, I would just go darker.
"I’ve had so many constantly tell me that there’s nothing healthy about a tan. And I cringe when I think back to my responses.
"I said things like, ‘You don’t look healthy without one’ and ‘You have to die of something,’ which I can’t believe those words came out of my mouth.'"
What is melanoma and what are the symptoms
The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
Most experts recommend using the simple “ABCDE” rule to look for symptoms of melanoma skin cancer, which can appear anywhere on the body.
- Asymmetrical – melanomas usually have two very different halves and are an irregular shape
- Border – melanomas usually have a notched or ragged border
- Colours – melanomas will usually be a mix of two or more colours
- Diameter – most melanomas are usually larger than 6mm in diameter
- Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma
The model has now had the mole removed and has to undergo further tests to make sure the cancer does not spread.
She says that early detection saved her life, claiming she is 'one of the lucky ones'.
"Going through melanoma I didn’t know if I was going to survive.
"I didn’t know the outcome. So I feel incredibly grateful to be where I am today."
The former self-professed sun-lover said her experience was a 'wake-up call'.
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"Melanoma doesn’t care how old you are or what type of skin you have.
"Please go and get your skin checked! Do it for you, your loved ones and your future."
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