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A woman spoke of her “shock” after a pimple on her nose turned out to be a common form of skin cancer. Michelle Davis, 52, first noticed the red bump in April 2022 and thought it was just a spot until it became “really sore”. The blemish would flare up but when she tried to squeeze it it wouldn’t stop bleeding.
Her doctor immediately thought it was cancer and following a biopsy diagnosed Michelle with basal cell carcinoma – a common form of skin cancer.
She has since undergone surgery to cut the cancer out and had the skin of her nose stretched to cover the hole it left.
Michelle, an account manager from Orewa in New Zealand, first spotted the pimple a year ago and would cover it up with concealer.
She said: “It was really hard. Like a volcano under the skin.
“I went walking with my girlfriend and it went purple and she pointed it out. I said, ‘It’s just a pimple’.”
The spot became “really sore” by January 2023 and she tried to squeeze the spot. She said: “Nothing happened. Then it bled and bled. I thought ‘That’s not normal’.”
Michelle went to her doctor the next month and was told it looked like skin cancer.
A biopsy confirmed she had basal cell carcinoma and she was told she would need surgery to remove the cancer.
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“I was in shock when I found out,” she said. “I had never heard of basal cell carcinoma.”
Michelle underwent a nasal flap reconstruction at a hospital in Auckland in April to remove the cancer and pull the nose skin over the hole.
She said: “They cut up my nose in a zig zag. They cut out a crater. There was a hole in the end of my nose. They then bring the skin down to cover it.”
Michelle was left with scarring and asymmetrical nostrils. She will be monitored once a year as she is more prone to skin cancer again as she has had it once.
Now Michelle wants to raise awareness of the symptom so other people can get it checked out.
She added: “If I’d kept ignoring it, it would have got way bigger. I might have got to the stage where they couldn’t cut it out.
“I honestly thought it was a pimple. I thought skin cancer was a mole. Skin block wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Now it’s in my day to day skin care.”
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.
The most common symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer is the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that persists after a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years.
“In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly,” the NHS says.
“See a GP if you have any skin abnormality, such as a lump, ulcer, lesion or skin discolouration that has not healed after four weeks.”
If you think you could have skin cancer you should speak to your GP.
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