Nurse details unusual sign of skin cancer she found on chest

Skin cancer: Dr Chris outlines the signs of a melanoma

In December 2021, Rebecca Turner noticed a patch of skin on her skin had lost its pigment.

Then, soon after, a small red lump appeared in the lighter patch of skin on her chest.

Rightly concerned, the 44-year-old nurse booked an appointment with her doctor, who took pictures of the lesion and sent it off to a dermatologist.

Told she would have to wait up to three weeks for her results; when she didn’t hear back, Rebecca made the call instead.

Rebecca found out that the dermatologist was keen on seeing more photographs of her lesion.

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She was then booked in to see the dermatologist face-to-face in the clinic which, by that time, was six months following her first GP appointment about the skin changes.

Having had a biopsy, Rebecca said: “I had a letter for an appointment, eight weeks after I was first seen.

“I assumed the labs had not found anything. By this point, what they had taken had regrown.”

Back at the clinic, Rebecca shared: “I was at the appointment on my own and I overheard the consultant say to the health care assistant, ‘Of course, it has regrown, it is malignant melanoma.'”

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Told her lesion was “not a usual presentation” of malignant melanoma (i.e. skin cancer), Rebecca was floored by her devastating diagnosis of stage 2c.

Cancer Research UK explains: “Stage 2C means the melanoma is thicker than 4mm and, under the microscope, the outermost layer of skin covering the tumour looks broken (it is ulcerated).”

Rebecca told WalesOnline: “Every day it is there, you have a risk of it spreading throughout your body.”

The nurse is adamant that if she had been seen “within the first three weeks” of first going to her doctor, “it is very likely my melanoma would have been at stage one”.

In September 2022, Rebecca underwent surgery to have the tumour and her surrounding lymph nodes removed.

Rebecca divulged: “I have got used to the fact I have to strip off and they inspect every part of my body for anything. I do skin checks every day myself.

“I am very happy and glad I have no evidence of the disease but, it does not mean it is not present in my body. It is just living with the fact that it may return.”

Signs of malignant melanoma, that the NHS says requires a prompt GP visit, might include:

  • You have a mole that’s changed size, shape or colour
  • You have a mole that’s painful or itchy
  • You have a mole that’s inflamed, bleeding or crusty
  • You have a new or unusual mark on your skin that has not gone away after a few weeks
  • You have a dark area under a nail that has not been caused by an injury.

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