A mom in the U.K. who said she had no reason to suspect that the spot on the edge of her nose was skin cancer has been left with a bloody wound on her face that she says may take up to a year to heal and is causing people to stare.
“It was probably around two years ago that I had a spot on the end of my nose but it kept coming and going so I didn’t really think much about it,” Mandy Pollard, of Cambridgeshire, England, told British news agency SWNS. “Then it just started to change, it got bigger, it was paper-thin. I would wake up in the night and my partner would say, ‘Your nose is bleeding.’”
The 37-year-old said her own mother had a cancerous spot removed from her arm, but that still didn’t prompt her to seek medical attention until she was at the doctor for another reason. It was then that she was referred to a dermatologist and plastic surgeon who told her the situation was dire, according to SWNS.
“I asked him what if we just leave it and he said, ‘If you don’t get this done, it’s going to eat away at your nose and in the next 10 years you’ll be back sitting in that chair being told you have to have your whole nose taken off,’” she told SWNS.
Pollard said the diagnosis was shocking, as she has stayed out of the sun and has always been diligent about wearing sunscreen on vacation, according to the news outlet.
There are many risk factors for melanoma, but it’s not exactly clear how they may cause the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Exposure to ultraviolet rays, as well as having many moles are two risk factors of melanoma, as well as having fair skin, freckles and light hair. Family history also plays a role, as well as a weakened immune system and a personal history of melanoma or other skin cancers.
On Nov. 5, Pollard underwent a skin graft, and a sponge was stitched onto her face to protect the wound. On Thursday, she had the sponge removed, and while she is horrified by the sight, her surgeon is said to be pleased, according to SWNS.
“I looked in the mirror for a second and then gave it back, I couldn’t even look at myself,” she told SWNS. “The surgeon was amazing, though; he was very reassuring. He said it looks a bit like a dog’s dinner at the moment but he said it looks really good and said the graft has taken.”
Still, Pollard said she avoided stares from people while walking out of the hospital, and is concerned about what her sons will think. She said she has been told that it may take up to a year to heal. Still, while her confidence has taken a hit, she told SWNS that she wanted to go public with her story to urge others about getting skin spots checked, and to practice sun safety.