The fitness guru, a trainer on The Biggest Loser, looks the picture of health.
Brimming with energy, Shannan Ponton knows how lucky he is.
‘I was 0.4mm away from death,’ he reveals.
In 2010, Shannan was diagnosed with melanoma.
‘Kylie and I were in Bali on holiday,’ Shannan, 43, tells New Idea.
‘Kylie noticed a mole at the top of my right leg, just under the crease of my bum, which she thought looked bad. I didn’t give it a second thought but she called my dad and got him to make me an appointment the day we landed.’
The mole was tiny – half a centimetre at most – but Kylie, 37, says it just didn’t look right. ‘It was brown with a few black spots in it,’ she remembers.
In Sydney, Shannan met a skin specialist.
‘Lying on the bed being examined I felt such an idiot,’ he says.
‘I was tanned after sun-baking on holiday being checked for a possible melanoma.’
The possibility quickly became a reality as the mole and surrounding area was cut out and sent for biopsy. A week later it came back positive.
‘The doctor didn’t downplay it. He said it was serious, but I was very lucky,’ Shannan says. ‘The melanoma was 0.6mm deep. If it gets to 1mm it can be in your blood and you’re in all sorts of trouble.’
Shannan had a 15cm area cut away to remove tissue around the mole, and they got it all.
‘Kylie saved my bacon,’ Shannan says smiling.
‘If she hadn’t spotted it I’m not sure I would… and things could have been very different.’
Shannan is now a proud father to Max, four, and Milla, two, and he wants to make sure he’s always around for them.
‘I have six-monthly skin checks and I’m very conscious of other types of cancers too. That scare made me realise I’m not bulletproof. Even being healthy and fitness-conscious doesn’t make you immune,’ he says.
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – out now.
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