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Call for Information & Support

A Merriwa champion has become the face of a new appeal urging people to donate to cancer research, after surviving stage four metastatic melanoma.

Kate Lugg said it was a major shock to get the diagnosis in 2021, as it was the same cancer that took her husband Nick, 20 years prior.

“During a routine skin check in 2004 my skin specialist noticed a tiny red lump the size of a pinhead between my shoulder blades,” Ms Lugg said.

“My specialist decided to err on the side of caution and have it removed and biopsied. The biopsy showed it to be a very aggressive melanoma but also showed the specialist had removed it all with a very clear margin.

“Fast forward 17 years and I decided to see my GP as I’d noticed both my ankles were very swollen for several days.

“Scans then showed a mass on my duodenum so I was sent to specialist the next day. Further scans confirmed it was stage four metastatic melanoma.

“Unfortunately, it seems I was in the small percentage where the melanoma from 2004 had sent a seed out before being removed. That then stayed dormant for years until my immune system was run down for a while.”

After Kate’s scan, she was told the cancer had spread. They found three lesions in her abdominal area, as well as tumours in both her lungs and brain.

“I started treatment within two weeks that included fortnightly immunotherapy,” she said.

“Six months later I was in remission. I wake up every day feeling grateful to be here. It’s only because of cancer research that I’m able to share my story today, so I urge people to consider donating to cancer research.”

Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid, said Kate’s journey highlighted the importance in investing in cancer research.

“Back in the 30s and 40s a melanoma cancer diagnosis was often fatal,” Mr Reid said.

“But we’ve seen huge gains in screening, diagnosis and treatment all through investment in research, and survival rates are incredibly high now compared to the past.

“Cancer Council WA’s investment in local world-class research is all donor funded.

“In WA, we have invested more than $60 million dollars since 1963 on more than 1200 cancer research projects.

“We just simply couldn’t find ways to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer without that support from the community.”

To donate to cancer research visit our appeal page.

For support and information call 13 11 20 or visit