Skin cancer: Doctor explains dangers of squamous cell carcinoma
Only 53, Donna, from Edinburgh, has to wear a prosthetic nose after an aggressive form of skin cancer meant her nose required invasive surgery.
“I think it looks all right from a distance but close up, people can tell,” Donna said of her fake nose.
Treatment, available in Toulouse, France, enables a nose to be grown on the forearm that can then be transplanted onto the face.
While Donna was hoping to receive this life-changing procedure, a letter sent to her GP squashed the chance of that occurring.
The letter, sent to Donna’s GP by the Extra Contractual Referrals (ECT) team of NHS Borders, said: “Previously, your request would have been considered under the EU Directive.
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“However, this is no longer applicable for UK residents since the finalisation of Brexit.”
Reflecting back, Donna remembered the first time she went to her GP concerned about nasal pain in February 2019.
The GP’s initial suspicion was that Donna could have an ulcer, but a later biopsy revealed cancer.
“I was promised [the biopsy] would be done in September, but I had to chase them up and was told there was no note on their system about it,” Donna said.
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“I had to keep phoning and an appointment was finally offered for the weekend of my 50th birthday, in October, when we had booked a trip.
“Eventually, I got the biopsy around mid-November, then the diagnosis and operation the following month.”
Donna told the Daily Record: “I can’t know whether a diagnosis six or eight months earlier might have enabled me to have earlier treatment and not lose my nose.”
About the cancellation of the nose transplant, Donna said: “I’m so disappointed.”
Donna had squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common form of skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation points out.
Occurring due to ultraviolet radiation, signs of squamous cell carcinoma can look like:
- Scaly red patches
- Open sores
- Rough, thickened or wart-like skin
- Raised growths with a central depression.
At times, squamous cell carcinoma may crust over, itch or bleed; if not treated in the earliest of stages, they can become disfiguring, dangerous and deadly.
If you suspect you could have squamous cell carcinoma, book a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
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