Tyne Tees' Pam Royle makes skin cancer plea
TV newsreader Pam Royle is hoping her diagnosis of skin cancer will inspire others to have themselves checked for the disease.
Ms Royle, who presents ITV Tyne Tees, was diagnosed with invasive melanoma last August after finding a mark on her leg.
She has had surgery and there is no sign the cancer has spread.
Ms Royle, who lives near Darlington, urged people with new or unusual marks to get them checked.
She said she initially dismissed the mark above her left knee as a thorn from a countryside walk, but after two weeks she had a closer look and saw the tiny dark freckle had developed a light brown ring round it.
Ms Royle said: "I was horrified that something that looked so innocuous could have turned out to be potentially deadly.
"I wasn't so much frightened for me but what it could mean for my family. It was a terrible time."
Signs of melanoma
About 15,400 people in the UK are diagnosed with melanoma each year - half of them are aged 65 or over.
It can occur anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women.
In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than one colour.
The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or can bleed.
Source: NHS Choices - Skin cancer
She kept the diagnosis secret, even from her two children, and continued to work throughout.
A major cause of skin cancer is exposure to the sun and Ms Royle said she was a "self-confessed sun-worshipper".
She said: "I've always loved the sun and when the children were small and I was juggling my career, I'd use sunbeds before going on holiday."
Now she no longer sunbathes and uses sun cream when going out.
She urged people to watch for any freckles or moles that look misshapen or appear to be getting bigger.
She said: "Skin cancer travels very quickly so if you see something even slightly unusual don't ignore it - go to see your doctor."