29-year-old Sarah Lee is encouraging the public to improve skin cancer and sun safety awareness following her delayed diagnosis of stage three skin melanoma.
In summer 2021, Sarah noticed a pea-sized black mole on her head, hidden on her scalp under her hair. Straight away, she correctly made an appointment with her GP who referred her for consultation with a dermatologist.
However, after being told by the skin specialist that her mole didn’t look unusual; that it was almost impossible to get a melanoma on the scalp; and that she was too young to have skin cancer, Sarah, who was ‘so trusting of doctors’ was reassured that she had nothing to worry about.
Now, in her article for the BBC, Sarah says ‘little did I know that all three of these statements were wrong and would soon put my life in danger’.
Five months later in December 2021, when the mole had grown and multiplied, Sarah returned to her GP several times, eventually insisting on a second, third and fourth opinion. After months of misdiagnosis of a ‘fungus’, Sarah eventually underwent urgent biopsy which confirmed her skin cancer diagnosis.
Following an 8-hour surgery in March 2022, Sarah has been told she no longer has any sign of cancer in her body. Despite this, she must now undergo a grueling 12-month course of medication to reduce the chance of the cancer returning. Sarah now describes the anger she feels that her cancer could have been diagnosed sooner.
As a result of her ordeal she now cautions others about the importance of having any new or worrying moles or skin abnormalities checked out.
Sarah, who had only ever used a sunbed once as a teenager, is also warning others about staying safe in the sun and avoiding unnecessary UV exposure.
During the summer months in particular, Sarah’s cautionary story is a life-saving reminder of the importance of staying safe in the sun, avoiding sunbeds and never underestimating the development of abnormal skin features. We echo Sarah’s message: if in doubt, get it checked out.
Bridge McFarland LLP have helped and continue to help people in relation to medical negligence claims concerning the misdiagnosis of skin cancer.
If you believe that you or a loved one may have a claim in relation to mismanagement of skin cancer, contact our medical negligence team for a no obligation enquiry.
Read Sarah’s story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-62044136