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Thursday, 08 August 2013
Peter Kaensche  (Getty Images)
Peter Kaensche (Getty Images)
Peter Kaensche admits that the many years of battling it out on the Challenge Tour and trying, in vain, to make the step-up to the big time left him weary. But his whole life and perspective was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with skin cancer last year.

The 33 year old had faced many a mental battle during his eight seasons on the Challenge Tour, his best result a runner-up finish in 2006, but nothing would even come close to the heartbreak he suffered when, after visiting a doctor to inspect a mole on his arm, the Oslo man’s life was turned on its head.

He explains: “Life changed pretty quickly for me last year when I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I didn’t know anything about it and didn’t realise how dangerous it actually is.

“My girlfriend had been telling me that I had to get a mole checked out and I was like, ‘yeh I’ll do it next time I go to the doctor’s, whenever that is’. I finally booked a session with a dermatologist and they ended up removing the mole and I thought that was it.

“Then I got a phone call ten days later, in June of last year, and it was the doctor telling me I had to come in tomorrow morning and I asked if it could wait because I was travelling the following morning.

“She said maybe and then called me back about 60 second later and said, ‘no, you’re coming in tomorrow morning’. I realised then that it must have been pretty serious.

“She told me the next day I had a malignant melanoma. I didn’t even know what it was. She told me a little bit about it and said the prognosis was pretty good because it was at the early stages but it could have spread fast.

“They transferred me to a cancer department in Olso and I was put in for surgery a couple of weeks later. Luckily, long story short, everything has gone fine and I had three surgeries and they removed everything from my arm.

“It was only in the skin and it hadn’t gone to the blood so I was very lucky, because if that happens then it’s not good and that kind of cancer is very dangerous.

“It took me four or five months to recover and I couldn’t play golf because it was on my arm but I'm back playing on the Nordic Golf League now and I've had a couple of decent finishes, almost winning one and finishing second.”

The experience of facing cancer head-on has given Kaensche, who is half German, a fresh perspective on the game he loves.

“I've started to enjoy playing golf again,” he said. “You can make a bogey and it’s not the end of the world, things can be a lot worse.

“Of course, as a young golfer you have all these goals. You want to win tournaments and be top 50 in the world but I'm far more focussed on having a good day every day now. That’s all you can do, where it’s going to take you, you never know.”

Kaensche’s case is one which can come with the territory for golfers, and one which received a lot of publicity in 2007 when Padraig Harrington had a ‘sun spot’ removed from his forehead, but it is still a subject which goes very much unnoticed in the circles of the professional game.

Kaensche believes that players should be more aware of their skin and how they take care of it, especially in the sunny climates regularly visited on the Challenge Tour and European Tour.

“We’re in the sun all the time and I was never careful with putting on sunscreen,” he admitted. “We don’t know how dangerous it really is but now I protect my skin all the time. I put on sunscreen twice or three times a day and I'm careful with wearing a hat.

“I think a lot of guys should be more careful. You can be in the sun, but when you get burned, that’s when it can develop. It’s quite common and if it spreads it becomes really dangerous.”

He is delighted to have come through it and now he is looking forward to revisiting his aims of becoming a European Tour golfer, starting at this week's Norwegian Challenge at Losby Golf Club near his home city of Olso.

“I am playing Qualifying School later this year and hope to get a category either on The European Tour or the Challenge Tour and see what I can do. 

“You have to be serious and work hard in this game and you have to learn when things don’t go your way. But in the end , there is more to life than just golf.”



 

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