A young mother has spoken out and warned others about the dangers of “flesh-eating” cancer after the disease cost her a great portion of her nose.
37-year-old Mandy Pollard from Cambridgeshire, UK, first spotted a strange mark on her nose around two years ago.
While at first she didn’t give it much thought, the mum sought medical attention after noticing that the spot was not only growing bigger but also bleeding at night.
After a trip to a dermatologist, Mandy received a shocking diagnosis – the lump on her nose was a cancerous formation.
“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,’” the mum-of-two recalled.
“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. I was talking about it as though it was happening to other people, but it wasn’t. It was my reality.”
Following the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue, Mandy has undergone a skin graft to help restructure her nose.
“It’s the lowest I’ve ever felt, I can’t leave the house. All I do is drive to my parents’ house. But even then when I stop at traffic lights I put my hand over my nose so nobody sees,” she added, admitting feeling embarrassed because of her condition.
“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 makeup and eyelashes on.”
After her doctor told her she’s the youngest skin cancer patient he ever had, Mandy decided to warn others about the dangers of being exposed to the sun unprotected.
“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?” she said.
“Well I usually put my makeup 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. If telling my story makes just one teenager think about protecting their skin against the sun then I’ll be happy.”
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