Politicians usually take their lives in their hands by appearing on Tonight with Vincent Browne on TV3.
However, one Fine Gael backbencher said he will be forever grateful for a stint on the late-night current affairs show after it led to a cancer diagnosis.
Cork South West TD Jim Daly, 40, yesterday praised his GP, Rosscarbery-based Dan Burke, who spotted a raised pimple on his patient’s left cheekbone while watching him on the Tonight With Vincent Browne TV3 show one evening last November.
"He certainly went above and beyond the call of duty," Mr Daly said.
Dr Burke met Mr Daly at a Carbery Rangers function the night after the show and said he had seen him on the panel the night before and was concerned about the growth.
However, Mr Daly said he did not get around to making an appointment for several weeks.
"I took it for granted, and kind of forgot about it and decided to leave it a few weeks," he said.
The pimple, which appeared about six months ago, had never really been a cause of concern and Mr Daly assumed it would go away eventually.
"I finally went in to see my GP, he examined it and said he wasn’t happy about it, so he referred me to a specialist in Cork," said Mr Daly.
Lee Clinic-based consultant dermatologist William O’Connor arranged for a biopsy, which confirmed the pimple was a basal cancerous growth.
While arrangements were being made for its removal, Mr Daly christened it "my little VinB" after the Twitter hashtag used for Mr Browne’s show.
It was removed in a day-procedure at the Bon Secours hospital last month and Mr Daly spent a week recovering at home. He was subsequently told that he will not need follow-up treatment.
He returned to the Dáil last week with a visible scar and some bruising.
"My colleagues were wondering if I had run in to an angry constituent or something," he said. "But the scar is a very small price to pay to avoid cancer.
"I am very grateful for my appearance that night on the VB show, and a lot more grateful to my GP for spotting it.
"It highlights the importance for anyone who has concerns, or who are even wondering about something, to seek medical advice straight away.
"I would urge people to go to their GP immediately. They can tell you very quickly if you need attention."
Mr Daly was raised on a farm and spent most of his youth outdoors and medics believe the growth was caused by his exposure to sunlight as a child.
His diagnosis bears remarkable similarities to former junior minister Conor Linehan’s health scare in Dec 2006.
A consultant at University Hospital Galway who was at home watching a Prime Time TV debate on the Moriarty Tribunal spotted a large lump on the left side of Mr Linehan’s jaw.
The consultant was concerned it could be malignant and he phoned the minister’s private office the next day to urge him to seek medical attention.
Doctors discovered and removed a tumour which, although benign, could have caused disfigurement and speech difficulties if it had gone untreated.