A mother has told how what she thought was a spot on her nose turned out to be cancer that was eating away at her skin.
Mandy Pollard, from Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, first noticed the mark on the tip of her nose two years ago.
The 37-year-old only decided to seek medical advice when it became bigger and would occasionally bleed at night.
Doctors dealt her the devastating blow that the lump was cancerous, warning her she faced the threat of needing her nose amputated.
She has now had the cancer cut out, which left her with a gaping hole that needed to be filled in using skin from elsewhere.
Mandy Pollard, from Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, fist noticed the mark on the tip of her nose two years ago (pictured before)
The 37-year-old only decided to seek medical advice when it became bigger (pictured after her skin graft to fill in the hole on her nose after having the cancer removed)
Recalling her diagnosis, Ms Pollard said: ‘I was just expecting to see the surgeon and be given some steroid cream or something.
‘But when I got there he said I needed that bit of my nose taken off. I said to him: “No, no I’m not that bothered, I don’t want to do that”.
‘But he told me if I leave it then in five to ten years I’ll be back sitting in that chair being told I have to have my whole nose taken off.
‘He told me it was eating away at my nose. It was a huge wake-up call but I was in massive denial about it.’
The mother-of-two added: ‘I was talking about it as thought it was happening to other people, but it wasn’t. It was my reality.’
Ms Pollard had the skin graft last week, which saw surgeons cut a section from her nose to remove the cancerous tissue.
Recalling her diagnosis, Ms Pollard said: ‘I was just expecting to see the surgeon and be given some steroid cream or something’ (pictured, the scar on her face from the skin graft)
Ms Pollard now faces a wait to see if the operation was a success (pictured with her children Alfie, seven, and three-year-old Harry with the spot)
She is sharing her story to raise awareness of skin cancer, which strikes more than 100,000 people in the UK every year (pictured with Alfie)
Medics took skin from the side of her face to cover the hole on her nose that was left, leaving her with a scar running alongside her ear.
Ms Pollard now faces a wait to see if the operation was a success – if not, she may lose a larger part of her nose.
She said: ‘It’s the lowest I’ve ever felt, I can’t leave the house. All I do is drive to my parents’ house.
HOW TO STAY SAFE IN THE SUN
Sunburn increases a person’s risk of skin cancer.
It can happen abroad or in the UK.
To stay sun safe, experts recommend people:
- Seek shade between 11am and 3pm, which is when the sun’s rays are typically strongest
- Wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes, and again just before, UV exposure
- Opt for water-resistant sunscreen if necessary and reapply after swimming, sweating or using a towel
- Cover up with protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
- Be extra careful with babies and young children. Infants under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight
- Do not use sunbeds or sunlamps
- Checks moles and skin for any changes
Source: NHS Choices
‘But even then when I stop at traffic lights I put my hand over my nose so nobody sees.
‘I’m dreading the school run next week if I can do it. It’s made me feel awful and totally knocked my confidence.
‘It has affected my looks so much. I’m not a vain person but I do like to get dressed up when I go out, put a bit of make up and eyelashes on.’
Ms Pollard, mother to Alfie, seven, and three-year-old Harry, added: ‘My surgeon told me I am by far the youngest person he has ever seen this in.’
She is sharing her story to raise awareness of skin cancer, which strikes more than 100,000 people in the UK every year.
Ms Pollard said: ‘I’ve never been a sun-worshipper, I’d always smother my body in sun cream and make sure the boys are covered head to toe.
‘I hate sitting in the sun too long when you can feel it burning your skin. But what about my face?
‘Well I usually put my make up on and then think: “S**t, I didn’t sun cream my face”. I’d put it on the rest of my body ready to go out but always forget my face.
‘I don’t sit out in the sun for to long so I thought it’d be okay as my foundation is SPF 30.
‘If telling my story makes just one teenager think about protecting their skin against the sun then I’ll be happy.
‘I’m not doing it so people feel sorry for me, I know I’m not dying but I just want to raise awareness.’
She added: ‘I know full well other people have and will go through worse then this, a lot of people die from different cancers.
‘And I’m very aware I’m really very lucky mine isn’t melanoma and in a year’s time you probably won’t even notice.
‘Wear sun cream people. On your face, on your body, smother your kids. The damage it can cause even when you think you’ll be okay is scary.’