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Survivor contestant shares terrifying cancer story

CHALLENGED: Byron Bay wedding celebrant and Australian Survivor contestant has been given the all-clear after having cancer removed after her stint on the show.
CHALLENGED: Byron Bay wedding celebrant and Australian Survivor contestant has been given the all-clear after having cancer removed after her stint on the show.

A BROKEN arm turned out to be a silver lining for Byron Bay marriage celebrant and Australian Survivor contestant, Jacqui Patterson, 50, who was diagnosed with melanoma.

Major surgery, four screws and six weeks in a sling was a "blessing in disguise" for Ms Patterson who caught the cancerous growth before it was too late.

A lack of x-rays and ultrasounds on Samoa meant the extent of her injury from a bad fall during a challenge on Survivor wasn't picked up immediately.

When getting a massage on her arm and shoulder post-surgery her sister and a friend spotted "a suspicious mole".

A picture sent to Ms Patterson's doctor saw her in the clinic the next day for a biopsy and within three days the mole was diagnosed as a three millimetre deep melanoma.

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing, you never think this sort of thing happens to you," Ms Patterson said.

Moving quickly, surgery was scheduled the following week to remove the mole along with three lymph nodes.

"Fortunately, they got it early enough...I was bloody relieved to have the results come back with the all-clear," Ms Patterson said.

She said she had enjoyed a few good bottles of champagne with her girlfriends to celebrate the news.

Following the procedure, Ms Patterson has to keep a close eye on herself, and be wary of sun exposure.

"I must see my doctor in Byron every three months for the next two years and the specialist every six months," she said.

"Plenty of 50+, cover up and stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day."

And she has an important message for people who might spot something unusual: "Don't wait!".

"Deal with it then and there; you have nothing to lose, except maybe your life."

Coming home from Samoa and watching her time on Survivor she said was "crazy" but is something she would do "again in a heartbeat".

A lengthy rehabilitation process for her shoulder and marrying people (with champagne of course) is on her agenda now, and training to compete in a natural body building competition.



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