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Woman Shares Picture Of 'Freckle' That Turned Out To Be Skin Cancer

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Woman Shares Picture Of 'Freckle' That Turned Out To Be Skin Cancer

A woman who used sunbeds to get a tan before she went on holiday has been diagnosed with melanoma - the same skin cancer that killed her mum.

Nicola Rudge, 34, is now sharing her experience to urge people to be careful in the sun be aware of any changes in moles and freckles and get them checked.

Nicola is now being treated for melanoma (Credit: Kennedy)
Nicola is now being treated for melanoma (Credit: Kennedy)

The mum-of-one would go on two or three holidays a year and pay for a 60-minute tanning package to get a tan before she embarked on a tip.

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She would use the sunbeds five or six times before jetting off and would usually spend lots of time outside by the pool without always wearing sunscreen.

Nicola, from Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, Scotland, said: "I started going on sunbeds in my early twenties.

"I wasn't a regular sunbed user, I would just go at least five or six times before going on holiday and would get a package of 60 minutes.

"Sunbathing was part of my enjoyment while I was on holiday too. Particularly when you're away with the girls it's part and parcel of these types of holidays - chilling by the pool with a cocktail or going down to the beach.

"I would wear sunscreen, it was usually quite a low factor, sometimes if we were a bit hungover we maybe wouldn't bother putting any on, which is obviously terrible."

After more than a decade symptom-free, in December 2020 Nicola felt a freckle on her leg through her tights as she changed outfits.

Nicola spotted a raised freckle on her leg last Christmas (Credit: Kennedy)
Nicola spotted a raised freckle on her leg last Christmas (Credit: Kennedy)
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When the mum-of-one discovered a dark raised freckle on her right thigh that appeared to have a 'tail' and, mindful of her mum's melanoma diagnosis, she went to the GP.

Nicola said: "At Christmas time I felt a freckle on my right thigh. I was just getting changed, I had tights on and I could feel it through them.

"I remember thinking 'that feels a bit strange' it felt raised where it had never been before. I've probably had this freckle for a long, long time but it hadn't done anything to alarm me.

"When I examined it it was really dark and it had a wee tail on it, it was weird. I just knew it wasn't right and it had definitely changed."

Nicola's mum Elizabeth Rudge, who had been a GP practice manager, died 11 years ago aged 53 from a brain tumour.

Nicola's mum died from cancer (Credit: Kennedy)
Nicola's mum died from cancer (Credit: Kennedy)
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This was a secondary cancer caused by melanoma that is believed to have started in a large dark mole on her arm she'd had since a teenager that she never got checked out

The doctor referred pharmacist Nicola to hospital where skin specialists assessed and then removed the mole before sending it off for a biopsy.

Three weeks later Nicola, who is also an aesthetic clinic owner, was given the devastating news that the mole was cancerous and she had stage 1B melanoma.

Nicola underwent a second surgery where she had a further excision around the original mole, a lymph node biopsy and another freckle on her arm removed as a precaution. She is now waiting for her results.

"My wounds were checked last week and are all looking fine, and get my results back in two weeks' time. The hope is that everything comes back all-clear," she said.

"Getting it done was a no-brainer, especially because of Finlay. I want to know, I want to secure his future and I want to see him grow up."

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Nicola also lost her dad to advanced bladder cancer (Credit: Kennedy)
Nicola also lost her dad to advanced bladder cancer (Credit: Kennedy)

Nicola, whose dad William Rudge died last year of advanced bladder cancer, shared her experience in a Facebook post urging friends to be vigilant of any changes in freckles and moles and to get them checked out.

The post said in part: ""I just know how vigilant I will be from now on, how careful I'm gonna be in the sun and mindful of my own body, freckles, moles and all.

"This was not hereditary for me either, I'm told it was just a very awful coincidence that both myself and my mum had this.

"I am also not trying to evoke sympathy but I think it's really important to spread awareness.

"The dermatologist told me more and more young people are coming through her doors with this awful silent disease. Silent because you can have it and there can be no symptoms at all.

"I wouldn't want anyone to go through this especially when it's so preventable in the first place.

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According to the NHS, Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body.

The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole. This can happen anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women.

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy

Topics: Life, Health

Gregory Robinson
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