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Cancer patient didn’t think her symptoms were ‘that serious’

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“I had been to the doctor more than once about my nose,” said Elizabeth. “But not for one minute did I ever think it was something that serious.” The mum-of-two first visited her GP about her nose in December 2017, which is when she was prescribed ointment to use for up to three weeks. When the lesion didn’t disappear, Elizabeth put it to the back of her mind, thinking the doctor would call if it required a follow-up.

By May 2019, the lesion was still there, so Elizabeth decided to get it looked at by another doctor.

This time, Elizabeth was referred to a dermatology clinic.

Yet, in the time leading up to her appointment, the area around her nose was swelling up.

This promoted Elizabeth to contact the doctor’s surgery, and so her referral was upgraded to urgent.

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Having the biopsy done in August 2019, the 60-year-old was diagnosed with skin cancer that September.

“Hearing that I had cancer is a moment I’ll never forget,” Elizabeth recalled.

“When I was given my diagnosis, I was devastated. As it had been there for some time, I was also worried that it might have spread.”

Post surgery, Elizabeth has been “left with facial scarring” and part of her nose had to be reconstructed.

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“While I’m now cancer free, I’m constantly worried that it’s going to come back,” said Elizabeth.

“The whole experience has really taken its toll on my mental health and really knocked my confidence.

“At the same time, I’m so grateful to still be here and thankful for the support I’ve had.

“I know nothing will change what’s happened, but I want to make others aware of what to look out for when it comes to skin cancer.”

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Skin cancer symptoms

Cancer Research UK points out three common symptoms of skin cancer.

  1. A sore or area of skin that doesn’t heal within four weeks
  2. A sore or area of skin that looks unusual
  3. A sore or area of skin that hurts, is itchy, bleeds, crusts, or scabs for more than four weeks.

The sore, which may be sore, rough and have raised edges, can look see-through, shiny, pink, pearly white, or red.

Also be on the lookout for a small, slow-growing lump that is shiny, pink, or red.

People who are concerned about skin lesions should seek the support of their doctor or dermatologist.

If, like Elizabeth, you finish some sort of treatment but the lesion is still there, it’s advisable to book a follow-up appointment.

The sooner that skin cancer is diagnosed, for example, the better the outcome is likely to be.

For more information on skin cancer, visit Cancer Research UK.

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