Rachel Collett, 48, from Bideford, Devon, first noticed a mark on her forehead (circled above) in 2014 but initially dismissed it as a harmless scratch or mole

Mother who dismissed mark as hairbrush ‘scratch’ reveals it was skin cancer

A mum who considered a mark on her head a ‘little scratch’ from a hairbrush warns of the importance of sun protection after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

Rachel Collett, 48, from Bideford, Devon, first noticed the mark in 2014 but initially dismissed it as a harmless scratch or mole.

“Eventually it gradually started to crease around it and what I describe as a volcanic crater started to plunge into my head,” she explained.

Rachel Collett, 48, from Bideford, Devon, first noticed a mark on her forehead (circled above) in 2014 but initially dismissed it as a harmless scratch or mole

The mother-of-two, pictured with the scar on her forehead from the operation, warns of the importance of sunscreen after her diagnosis

The mother-of-two, pictured with the scar on her forehead from the operation, warns of the importance of sunscreen after her diagnosis

“But it kept getting bigger and then the red chunk in the middle disappeared and it was just a pearly white.” So I went to the doctors who referred me to a dermatologist.

A biopsy revealed it to be basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. So she had the lesion removed.

The mother-of-two, who works at a secondary school, had another lump removed near her eye in 2018 and a non-cancerous growth at the tip of her nose this year.

Now she wants to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection, saying she only started wearing low SPF sunscreen when she was 20.

Rachel wants to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection, saying she only started wearing low SPF sunscreen when she was 20.  Pictured, on vacation in Greece in his twenties

Rachel wants to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection, saying she only started wearing low SPF sunscreen when she was 20. Pictured, on vacation in Greece in his twenties

Rachel was initially not worried about the mark, pictured, thinking it was a harmless scratch or mole

She now has a scar after removing the mark

Rachel was initially not worried about the mark, pictured left, thinking it was a harmless scratch or mole. However, she now has a scar (right) after removing the mark

Rachel noticed something was wrong when the

Rachel noticed something was wrong when the ‘scratch’ flake off and then flake off, leaving her with a ‘crater-like’ dip on her forehead, pictured

‘[The dermatologist] I was 98% sure when I arrived it was basal cell carcinoma and asked questions like ‘have I been on tanning beds? And I told him “no”.

“She asked me if I used sunscreen and I didn’t when I was young because I was born in 1974 when skin cancer was unknown.

“And because I had olive skin, my mom used to put coconut oil on me instead of sunscreen because she was unaware of the effects of skin cancer.”

Rachel underwent surgery to remove her first lesion in 2015, when she was 41.

Doctors said they normally see basal cell carcinoma in older people and it was ‘very rare’ for someone his age to have it.

During the procedure, she mentioned a 2cm mark on the side of her face and was advised to watch it.

The mother-of-two, who works at a secondary school, had another lump removed near her eye in 2018, pictured after the operation

The mother-of-two, who works at a secondary school, had another lump removed near her eye in 2018, pictured after the operation

Rachel later had a non-cancerous mark removed from the end of her nose which turned out to be rosacea

Rachel later had a non-cancerous mark removed from the end of her nose which turned out to be rosacea

Rachel said: ‘They described [the procedure] as they cut my forehead right through, they opened it like a window to remove the cancer and the tissue around it to make sure they got rid of all the cancer.

“They then put it back together and my scar ended up looking like an anchor.

‘This [the diagnosis] was a bit concerning because I had never heard of it before and obviously I had heard of skin cancer and melanoma and how it spreads.

“I was given a leaflet to read and was told it was very rare for it to spread to other organs, so I felt a little relived about it.

‘When she said I would get more than likely and I obviously thought ‘how much more am I going to get in my lifetime?’

Rachel, pictured, is now passionate about skin cancer awareness and slapping on the 50 factor and regularly checks her body for lumps and bumps

Rachel, pictured, is now passionate about skin cancer awareness and slapping on the 50 factor and regularly checks her body for lumps and bumps

Rachel, pictured, said she was worried about how many other cancerous tumors she might get in her lifetime

Rachel, pictured, said she was worried about how many other cancerous tumors she might get in her lifetime

It’s the scar that everyone notices. In the school where I work, all the young people say “what’s the use of this scar on the head, miss?”.

“It affected my self-confidence. I see people staring at me, which makes me feel uncomfortable.

What is basal cell carcinoma?

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of cancers that grow slowly in the upper layers of the skin.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), also known as rodent ulcer, starts in the cells that line the bottom of the epidermis and accounts for about 75 out of every 100 skin cancers.

It usually appears as a small shiny pink or pearly white mass with a translucent or waxy appearance. It may also look like a red, scaly patch. There are sometimes brown or black pigments in the patch.

The lump grows slowly and may become crusty, bleed, or turn into a painless ulcer. Basal cell carcinoma usually does not spread to other parts of the body.

“I have to remember that this is a warning to others and try to tell myself that this is the story of my life.”

Earlier this year, she noticed a mark on the tip of her nose that behaved similarly to a mark on her forehead, so Mohs surgery removed it in the least invasive way possible.

But after the tissue was sent to a lab, it was found to be rosacea – a common skin condition that causes redness or redness and visible blood vessels on your face.

She is now passionate about raising awareness for skin cancer and slapping on the 50 factor and regularly checks her body for lumps and bumps.

Rachel said: “Until I was 20 nobody knew about skin cancer. In my twenties, I traveled a lot to the Greek islands and spent two vacations there a year.

“I was putting on a factor of 15 thinking that was enough to protect me but it hardly protects you at all.

“I constantly tell my kids, ‘Make sure you have sunscreen’. During heat waves I put on factor 50 and stay in the shade, if I go down to the beach I don’t stay there long .

“My message would be to always put on sunscreen and protect yourself. It’s not about putting it on once you’re outside, but putting it on before you go out because it takes time for your skin to absorb it.

“Slip, Slop, Slap” is the slogan used by Australians and we must remember to put on a t-shirt, put on sunscreen and put on a hat. »

Mother who dismissed mark as hairbrush ‘scratch’ reveals it was skin cancer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.