Mark Allen has raised awareness of many important topics during his life in triathlon, but his message about skin cancer this week is right up there.
The six-time IRONMAN World Champion opened up about his own skin cancer diagnosis in a YouTube video this week, which as ever was brutally honest and with a vital underlying message.
Mark Allen on Mohs Surgery
Allen detailed how a cancerous spot on his cheek was identified – resulting in him requiring Mohs Surgery, a painful and scary process which involves doctors digging into the skin to remove cancerous cells.
The surgery takes place in phases, skin is removed and then analysed to see if all of the affected area has been removed, while the patient waits. If there is more cancerous tissue to be removed, the process resumes with another round of digging.
Allen informed his fans that thankfully all of the cancer was successfully removed in the first round of surgery. The result of the surgery is clear on the video, a reminder of the risks of sun damage to the skin.
Hopefully he was one of the lucky ones, but he outlined why he knew he had to get checked out.
“The reason was, well, I had a lot of friends, including my Mom, including Scott Zagarino my business partner, who’ve had a lot of Mohs surgeries and they’re not pleasant – I’ve seen the scars when they come out. Big gaping things that got cut out, closed up. And they healed, and they are alive fortunately.”
The late Kevin Moats
Allen, who spent time as a lifeguard in his youth in California before a life outdoors as an endurance athlete, stressed the dangers of not thinking how what you do today can affect you years down the line.
He also referenced the recent death of 67-year-old former pro triathlete Kevin Moats from melanoma to emphasise the need for regular medical check-ups.
“He passed away in early June of this year. He was blond, he loved to be in the sun. During COVID he stopped going to the skin doctor on a regular basis to get checked. He paid the price, he’s gone, he died.”
As ever Allen explains the issues eloquently and honestly, with a dash of humour. It is a video well worth watching, and it may prove to be a life saver for some people in the future.