21-Year-Old Who Never Got ‘Bad’ Sunburn Diagnosed With Skin Cancer

  • A 21-year-old, who says she never got ‘bad’ sunburn was diagnosed with skin cancer.
  • Darcy‘s mom noticed a mole on her chest was changing, and suggested she get it checked out.
  • Darcy said she wanted the floor to swallow her up when doctors told her it was cancer. 

A 21-year-old woman, who says she’s never had “bad” sunburn or used tanning beds, was diagnosed with the deadliest type of skin cancer.

Darcy, now 24, told the charity Teenage Cancer Trust that her mom noticed a mole on her collarbone was becoming larger and darker, and encouraged her to get it checked out. 

Doctors cut out and tested the mole, diagnosing Darcy with melanoma — a rare skin cancer that’s more dangerous than others because it’s the most likely to invade other parts of the body. In the US, there were about 99,780 new cases of melanoma in 2022, and 7,650 of those patients died, National Institutes of Health data suggests.

Symptoms of melanoma can include: unusual moles, sores, lumps, blemishes, marks, or changes in the way an area of the skin looks or feels. The American Cancer Society states that people with any concerning skin areas should see a doctor. 

A mole on Darcy's chest got larger and darker

Darcy’s mom noticed a mole on her chest change.


Darcy didn’t know what melanoma was

Darcy, who didn’t know what melanoma was, told the Manchester Evening News that she wanted the floor to swallow her up when doctors told her that the mole was cancer.

“That was it and I just couldn’t couldn’t take in anything else he was saying after that. I felt a bit numb,” she said.

According to Darcy, the doctors were “just as shocked.”

“I told them that I’d never had any bad sunburns. I’ve never been in a tanning bed, I do have the typical skin type that does have a lot of moles and has to be a bit more aware of their moles. Other than that, I don’t feel like I’d put myself at any kind of further risk of getting skin cancer,” she told Manchester Evening News.

Melanoma can affect anyone, but people who have family members with the condition, pale skin that burns easily, many moles, and blond hair are more likely to develop the condition. Too much exposure to ultraviolet waves, either from sunlight or sunbeds, is a “major” risk factor for melanoma, the American Cancer Society states. 

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in people under 30, especially younger women.

People with melanoma usually live longer if it’s detected early

Darcy had surgery to remove the cancerous mole, which hadn’t spread to other parts of her body.

Catching melanoma early can make a huge difference to how long someone with the disease lives. For example, American Cancer Society data suggests that when melanoma is diagnosed before it spreads, like in Darcy’s case, people with the cancer are around 99% as likely as people without melanoma to live for at least five years from diagnosis. However, if melanoma has spread, that number drops to 30%.

Darcy shared her story to raise awareness.

“I had no idea about the signs and symptoms of cancer, so I would also encourage young people to familiarize themselves with them as it may save their life,” she told the Teenage Cancer Trust.

She told Insider that the responses from sharing her story were “incredibly positive.”

“In the past I’ve had people who have heard my story say that it encouraged them to check themselves or go to the doctors about a concern they’ve been putting off,” she said.