A MUM diagnosed with skin cancer is urging others to take care in the sun.

Caroline Begg was just 26 when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

Her warning comes as new figures from Cancer Research shows the number of people diagnosed with the disease has more than quadrupled in Scotland.

The Glasgow mum-of-three said she was keen to spread the message on staying safe in the sun. She was previously a sun worshipper and sun-bed user, but went to the doctor after she noticed that one of the moles on her back had changed.

It was a shock after a biopsy revealed it was skin cancer.

Caroline went through surgery in May 2006 to have the mole removed before the cancer spread.

She has now vowed to protect her skin, and that of her family's, including hus-band Keith, 35, and chil-dren Oliver, 4, and Isabelle, 2.

Caroline, now 34, said: "I was one of the lucky ones because my skin cancer was picked up early. I have a large scar on my back but that's nothing compared with what could have happened. I could have ended up not being able to have children.

"I could have died. I'm loving life as a mum. It's the best thing ever but I know how close I came to all that never happening."

The latest incidence rates show around 18 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in Scotland annually.

This is compared to just four per 100,000 in the mid 70s.

It means around 1200 people are now developing malignant melanoma every year.

It is now the fifth most common cancer in Scotland and around 180 people in the country die from it each year.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: "We know overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sun-beds is the main cause of skin cancer.

"This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, so it's essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad.

"Sadly more people in Scotland are being diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year. More than eight in 10 people will now survive the disease."

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk