A mother in England who first went to the doctor for what she thought was a painful wart on the sole of her foot was left with a gaping hole after she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma that set off a years-long cancer battle.
Rachel Solvason, 40, said in 2016 she felt as though there was glass sticking out of the bottom of her foot.
“Eventually, it grew into what looked like a verruca,” Solvason, of Fernill Heath, Worcestershire, told SWNS. “I treated it with over-the-counter cream but nothing seemed to work.”
Warts and verrucas are small lumps on the skin that usually go away on their own but may take months or years to clear, according to the NHS. Verrucas appear on the foot and are more likely to be painful whereas warts may be itchy. Creams or sprays may help treat warts and verrucas, but others may require a trip to a dermatologist or physician.
Solvason told SWNS that within a few months, the spot had grown to the size of a penny, and it was hard to walk on. She was referred to Kidderminster Hospital where a biopsy revealed melanoma.
“The diagnosis was so hard to take in,” she told SWNS. “I’ve always loved the sun but I’m sure the rest of my body has seen more sun than the sole of my foot. Even the consultant was shocked as it didn’t look like a typical melanoma and was in an unusual place.”
They removed the cancer from her foot, leaving her with a large hole near her heel, but in late 2017 she noticed a lump in her groin, which was later diagnosed as melanoma. She had her lymph nodes removed, but the melanoma returned in her leg last summer, according to SWNS. It was then revealed that the cancer had spread to her lung and stomach lining.
"To be told you're in the clear and then to be told it has spread further. Then having another operation. It’s just been hard on the whole family,” she told SWNS.
For some patients, melanoma may never go away completely, according to the American Cancer Society. In these cases, patients may receive regular immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy or other treatments to help keep the cancer under control.
For Solvason, she told SWNS that she is currently cancer-free but is receiving immunotherapy every four weeks. She’s also working with Stand Up To Cancer to raise money for research.