Cancer spurred Michael Flatley to take stock of life

Michael Flatley has revealed his battle with the most deadly form of skin cancer made him re-evaluate the important things in life.

Flatley fought skin cancer on his face 12 years ago. He said the scare made him determined to “live every moment”.

The dance superstar — who turns 57 next week — described the 2003 malignant melanoma diagnosis as scary and said that it change his outlook on wealth and possessions.

His discipline also became stronger after he recovered from the disease.

He told Russell Davies on BBC Radio 2: “If I was in a position to go for everything, that intensified.

“And the value of friends, the value of loved ones — all of a sudden, material things faded away into the past.

“My art and the people that I spend time with are the things that I love most now. [Cancer] certainly gave me tremendous focus.”

Meanwhile, a bronze cast of the record-breaking performer’s famous feet — which were once valued at €30m — was unveiled on Saturday at the Square of Fame at London’s Wembley’s SSE Arena.

The dancer was with family and friends, including his wife Niamh and their son Michael St James, 8, for the special event.

The world-famous dancer took centre stage at the same venue later that evening for his final UK performance alongside his famous Lord of the Dance troupe.

The Irish-American is now counting down to retirement and has been revealing details of the horrendous toll his gruelling hard-shoe tap routines have taken on his body over the last two decades.

Much of his spinal column is damaged — including vertebrae located at the top of the spine — his lumbar region, and his pelvic sacroiliac joint.

He has also suffered ruptured Achilles tendons, a fractured rib, and a broken foot bone.

However, he says that among his worst ever injuries is a torn right calf muscle, sustained during a performance in Manchester in the early 1990s.

It was reported that the tear was audible to people sitting in the audience.

The Chicago-born, Cork resident was due to retire later this year with a final performance in the Big Apple.

However, he has now revealed that he has received a tantalising offer in recent days to bow out in a huge dance extravaganza in Las Vegas in early 2016.

“We received a big offer to put our show on in Las Vegas with me finishing on St Patrick’s Day, so I may take a look at that,” he said.

Melanoma Awareness

Melanoma is relatively rare, with 887 Irish people diagnosed in 2011 (the latest figures available);

- 190 of these were aged between 15 and 44 years;

- Sun exposure increases the risk of melanoma;

- It is most common among older people;

- Early detection is crucial to a successful outcome;

- Melanoma is highly treatable;

- However, it can spread if left untreated;

Watch out for:

- Changes in mole shape;

- changes in mole colour;

- bleeding, oozing, or crusting; itching or pain;

Be SunSmart:

- Cover up and wear a hat;

- get some shade; wear wrap-around quality-assured sunglasses; wear sunscreen; check the UV Index.

Source: Irish Cancer Society: www.cancer.ie 



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