The ‘clogged pore’ that turned out to be skin cancer: Bride-to-be, 48, reveals harrowing pictures of her large scar after skin from her cheek was stretched across her nose
- Joanne Wall was told a raise bump on her nose was skin cancer last March
- She visited the doctor for an unrelated reason and mentioned it in passing
- Just one month later, Ms Wall had surgery to remove the 3mm tumour
- The procedure involved stretching skin from her cheek across her nose
- Ms Wall has been left with a red, bumpy scar that has shattered her confidence
A bride-to-be has been left with a large scar across her nose after a ‘clogged pore’ turned out to be skin cancer.
Grandmother-of-two Joanne Wall, 48, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was stunned when a doctor told her a raised bump on her nose was skin cancer last March.
Ms Wall who regularly wore SPF 50 sun cream and is due to walk down the aisle this September, had only mentioned the blemish to her doctor in passing while visiting for something unrelated.
One month later, Ms Wall underwent facial surgery to cut out the 3mm basal cell carcinoma nodule and stretch the skin from her cheek across her nose.
The agonising surgery has left her with a bumpy, red scar that has severely affected her self esteem.
Ms Wall, who credits her partner Craig Middlebrook, 49, for helping her through her ordeal, said: ‘I went into a shop and a woman asked me if I had been bitten by a dog. It has knocked my confidence.’
Basal cell carcinoma makes up more than 80 per cent of skin cancer cases in the UK. The disease affects less than one per cent of the population.
Joanne Wall (pictured with her grandson Harley Benjamin) was diagnosed with skin cancer when a barely visible ‘clogged pore’ on her nose turned out to be a sign of the disease
Ms Wall underwent facial surgery to cut out the 3mm basal cell carcinoma nodule and stretch the skin from her cheek across her nose. The agonising surgery required many stitches
Ms Wall (pictured before with her fiancé) is due to marry Craig Middlebrook, 49, in September
WHAT IS BASAL CELL CARCINOMA?
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Non-melanoma means it does not involve skin pigment cells.
BCC often appears as scabs that bleed
BCC makes up more than 80 per cent of all forms of skin cancer in the UK, with over 100,000 new cases being diagnosed every year.
It is mainly caused by overexposure to UV light from the sun or tanning beds.
BCC can occur anywhere on the body but is most common on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck and ears.
The following people are most at risk:
- People with fair skin or hair
- Those who work outdoors
- People who use sunbeds
- Those with a personal history of the condition
BCC is usually painless. Early symptoms often only include a scab that bleeds occasionally and does not heal.
Some appear as flat, red, scaly marks or have a pearl-like rim. The latter can then erode into a ulcer.
Others are lumpy with shiny nodules crossed by blood vessels.
Most BCCs can be cured, however, treatment is complex if they are left for a long time.
Treatment usually involves removing the cancerous tumour and some of the surrounding skin.
Source: British Skin Foundation and NHS Choices
‘It wasn’t visible to anybody else’
Ms Wall said: ‘I would have lived with this for years if it hadn’t flared up during my doctor’s appointment. I don’t know what would have happened.
‘I had had this little blotch visible on my nose for some years – it was so tiny it wasn’t visible to anybody else.
‘Because it was so small and unnoticeable I didn’t think it could be anything bad.
‘I used to assume maybe it was a spot that hadn’t come through yet. I used to squeeze it. I thought it was a blocked pore and that it would go away.
She added: ‘I went to the doctor for something unrelated and I asked him to have a look at it.
‘I was a bit panicky with the diagnosis but at the time he did reassure me.
‘He said: “I know cancer is a scary word but this one is the best type to get”.’
Ms Wall underwent a bilateral cheek-to-nose advancement flap, which involves surgeons cutting out the nodule and stretching the skin across the nose to cover up the gap
Unaware of how invasive it would be, Ms Wall was expecting ‘a plaster and a few stitches’
Ms Wall is self conscious of the blemish, claiming it is the first thing people see
Ms Wall (pictured with her grandson Hunter Blake) tries to hide it but still feels self conscious
‘The pain afterwards was horrendous’
After a consultant with a specialist, Ms Wall was booked in to have a bilateral cheek-to-nose advancement flap, where surgeons cut out the nodule and stretch the skin across the nose to cover up the gap.
She said: ‘I didn’t realise the extent of what they were doing. I was expecting a plaster and a few stitches.
‘I always thought I had a pretty high pain threshold. But the pain afterwards was horrendous.
‘I would sleep sitting up constantly. There was a constant throbbing of my nose and behind my eyes. I’ve never known anything like it.
‘The people that go through rhinoplasty – I take my hat off to them.’
Ms Wall hates looking in the mirror and sometimes thinks she should have waited for surgery
She claims she was once in a shop and a stranger asked her if she had been bitten by a dog
‘It’s the first thing people see’
Speaking of how the scar has affected her confidence, Ms Wall said: ‘My problem at the moment is foundations just settle into the scars and makes it more prominent.
‘When it’s on your face it’s the first thing people see. I went out with it covered up and I realised people were looking at me.
‘It’s quite a lot to get your head around. ‘I do have days where I think to myself “Should I have left it until after the wedding?”
‘But although at times I hate looking in the mirror, the unconditional support and love from my partner, who tells me I’m beautiful no matter what, gets me through.
She added: ‘I have got one good side of my nose. A few people have commented that it looks like a heart on my nose.
‘I am getting married in Turkey in September. I am hoping I will find a good makeup for my wedding.
‘My partner isn’t really bothered. It’s just something that happened. I have got a scar on my nose and that’s it. He says until I mention it myself, he doesn’t notice it.
‘I will always have a funny scar. It’s pretty red and raw and bumpy. I will just have to wait and see what happens as it heals.’
‘I always used factor 50’
Speaking of how she got skin cancer, Ms Wall said: ‘The consultant said it could have been sun damage from when I was a child.
‘I was born in 1970 and people weren’t really sun aware back then.
‘I can never remember my mum buying sun cream or putting sunscreen on me. It’s just the way it was in my age bracket. It wasn’t the done thing.
‘Since then, when I have gone abroad on holidays I have always used sun cream.
‘Some of my friends used to laugh at me because I always used to take factor 50 for the first few days and a lower SPF for later on in the holiday.’
Ms Wall (pictured before) credits Mr Middlebrook for his support throughout the ordeal
He tells his fiancé she is beautiful and he does not notice her scar until she brings it up
Ms Wall (pictured before) accepts she will have a ‘funny scar’ for the rest of her life
Ms Wall (pictured before) hopes to find good make-up for her wedding day to hide the blemish
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