Peterborough mum opens up on how harmless spot turned out to be skin cancer eating away at her flesh
A mum from Peterborough was left horrified after discovering that a ‘harmless’ spot on the end of her nose was actually skin cancer and was eating away at her flesh.
Mandy Pollard (37) was told by doctors she would lose her nose in the next 10 years if she did not get it treated and had to undergo a skin graft.
She was told the cancer was caused by the sun - even though she is not a sun worshipper.
After the operation, doctors sewed a sponge onto her nose to keep a skin graft against her nose.
The sponge was taken off today (Thursday), but Mandy was left horrified after seeing the wound.
The office manager said it looked like “someone had put out a cigarette on the end of her nose” and said her son will not cuddle her now.
She has now bravely opened up about her ordeal to warn others about the dangers of skin cancer.
Mandy said: “Walking through the hospital after my sponge was taken off, I was so embarrassed. People didn’t stare but they kind of glanced and then quickly looked away.
“A little girl looked frightened of me. The thing that really gets me is my little boy Alfie.
“He was really shocked when he saw me with the sponge and he didn’t want to give me a cuddle.
“Now the sponge is off I think it looks worse because it’s quite bloody so I’m nervous to see his reaction.”
The mum of two boys, Alfie (7) and Harry (3), added: “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.
“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’.
“My mum had a blemish on her arm that she had removed because it was skin cancer. I thought maybe I should get it looked at.
“I still didn’t go, I waited until I was next at the doctors and I just mentioned there was a blemish on my nose.”
Mandy was referred to a dermatologist and plastic surgeon where she was told she needed a skin graft as soon as possible.
She continued: “The surgeon started to go into everything and it was all a bit of a whirlwind when he said we needed to take that bit of skin off.
“It was like something from the movies.
“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.
“I really thought it was just dry skin and that I would just be given some cream for it.”
Mandy underwent the skin graft on November 5 where doctors sewed a sponge into her nose to prevent a blood clot.
They took a skin graft from the side of her face to stitch onto her nose to cover the hole that was left from the skin cancer spot.
Today, her sponge was taken off and Mandy was left with a dark bloody circle on the end of her nose which has left her so self-conscious she won’t leave the house.
She said: “I looked in the mirror for a second and then gave it back, I couldn’t even look at myself. 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.
“It’s quite bloody and there’s scabbing around it but he said the scabbing would start to fall off.
“I got quite excited because I thought as soon as I get the sponge off, I can start putting make up on and covering it up but I can’t put make up on it, I can’t cover it with my hair.
“People might think I’m vain for not wanting to go out of my house looking like this but my confidence has just shattered.”
Mandy has been told her nose could take up to a year to fully heal.
The doctor said the skin cancer was due to sun damage but told Mandy it usually affects older people.
Mandy said she always wears sun cream and usually holidays in the UK so the skin cancer came as a huge shock to her.
The mum has bravely spoken about her experience to warn others that you do not have to be a sun worshiper to get skin cancer.
Mandy added: “I just wanted to raise awareness that this can happen to anyone.
“I didn’t worship the sun, I would rather stick some fake tan on than sit out in it.
“When I’m on holiday I always put sun cream on but I usually just put SPF foundation on my face.
“I don’t really go on holiday a lot - I usually holiday in the UK.
“Even if it helps one 13-year-old who doesn’t want to wear sun cream on holiday then it’s worth it.”