A mum-of-two has spoken of her horror after discovering that a spot on her nose was actually skin cancer eating away at her flesh.
Mandy Pollard, from Peterborough, first noticed the mark on her face two years ago but dismissed as "just a spot".
She decided to seek medical advice after it became more noticeable and would occasionally bleed at night, Cambridgeshire Live reports.
The 37-year-old was given the devastating news that not only was the spot cancerous but if she didn't have a skin graft she could lose her entire nose.
Mandy 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 – I was talking about it as thought it was happening to other people, but it wasn't. It was my reality".
Mandy, who is mum to Alfie, seven, and three-year-old Harry, had the skin graft week which saw surgeons cut a section from her nose to remove the skin and tissue.
They took a skin from the side of her face to cover the hole on her nose that was left from the sun-damaged skin cancer spot.
Mandy now faces a wait to see if the operation would is 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, 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.
"That's all over for me for a while now.
"My surgeon told me I am by far the youngest person he has ever seen this in.
"The NHS have been fantastic throughout all of this and I really want to thank my surgeon Mr Turner."
Mandy hopes her story will raise awareness over skin protection from the sun.
"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," she said.
"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.
"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.
"I’m doing this in the hope that someone might see this and think ‘I don’t want to ever look like that’ and put sun cream on every time they go out all over their face as well as body.
"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."
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