'I never thought I was putting my life at risk'

Lauren Macdonald enjoying the sun on holiday - many years before she was diagnosed with skin cancer Credit: Lauren Macdonald

A doctor who was diagnosed with skin cancer and thought she only had months to live is now urging holiday makers to put on factor 50 and stay out of the midday sun.

Lauren Macdonald says that because of her own medical knowledge, she was "absolutely petrified". She told ITV News how she had burnt abroad when she was younger but never thought it was putting her life at risk:

I was careful in the sun, of course I did go on sunny holidays and unfortunately there were cases where I did burn but I think back then - 15, 20 years - I was putting sun lotion on but this was kind of factor 20, and at that time time that was considered a high factor. But now factor 50 is really what you need and that's what I'm using now all the time.

Lauren Macdonald

A special UV scanner can reveal how the sun damages our skin, which often goes undetected. The pictures below illustrate its hidden impact:

Credit: Lauren Macdonald

Meanwhile, Lauren's cancer is now Stage 4, but she's determined to spread the message that everyone needs to be using the correct protection this summer:

I definitely spent plenty of time on the beaches, with my sun lotion on, but just never ever thought, 'I'm putting my life at risk by being here and being so unaware of the sun's strength.' And I'd just say please please wear factor 50 and be careful in the sun. And I know it's a typical message but don't go out in the midday heat and roast. And don't be proud if you get home with amazing tan lines because that's a sign of skin damage and possibly skin cancer.

Lauren Macdonald