Hairdresser’s horror find on mum’s head
For years whenever Katie Maxwell went to her hairdresser she would be hit with the same persistent question - have you got that lump on your scalp checked out?
"I'd always go to the hairdresser's pretty regularly and my hairdresser kept saying to me, 'You know that lump in still in your hair?'" Ms Maxwell, 34, told news.com.au.
At first Ms Maxwell, didn't worry too much about her hairdresser's concerns. The lump had been checked out two years ago shortly after her daughter Maeve was born.
"I got the GP to have a look at it," Ms Maxwell recalled. I was told at that point in time that it was a sebaceous cyst, it was basically cosmetic, and there was no need for me to worry about it."
But fast-forward to late last year, and she began to think that maybe it was time to get another opinion.
"One day I was just sitting on the couch and I was playing with my hair," Ms Maxwell said. "For the first time it felt quite sensitive, and I could feel it almost felt bigger in size and it had grown."
After getting her partner to take a look at the lump, they both agreed she should book into her GP to get it checked out.
At the doctor's surgery, he took just one look at it and delivered some "really confronting" news.
"Straight away he said, 'I'll tell you now that will be cancerous. I'll take a biopsy, we're going to go and do a little local anaesthetic in your head, and we'll take a biopsy of it which will mean that you'll have a few stitches, but you'll have your results back in a week'," Ms Maxwell said.
After her biopsy confirmed it was a basal cell carcinoma (BCC), Ms Maxwell was referred to a plastic surgeon, who said the lump was so big she would have to have a day procedure at hospital to remove it.
As she waited for surgery, Ms Maxwell decided to undergo a full skin check, which at first turned up no marks of concern despite her concern over a mark on her forehead.
"I just had a niggling feeling because I could see it was almost like a small graze, it just wouldn't heal," she said.
"I then took myself to a dermatologist and it was then picked up in that appointment that I had another BCC on my forehead."
Last month Ms Maxwell had surgery on the two BCC moles, resulting in 40 staples in her head.
She found out last week the surgeries managed to remove both cancerous cells completely and has shared her story as a reminder of the importance of wearing hats.
Inspired by Shameless podcast's #ipledge sun safety awareness campaign, Ms Maxwell said skin safety wasn't just about wearing sunscreen at the beach.
"While I've been pretty sun safe in terms of sun cream and definitely with skin care products, particularly with my face, have I worn hats? Absolutely not." Ms Maxwell said.
"In my recovery I was reflecting on all the times I've sat out in the sun - things like going to the tennis, going to the pub with friends … it's so nice to enjoy the sun and enjoy the great weather, particularly when you live in Melbourne.
"But not wearing a hat and burning your scalp, even if it's not red raw, you're still getting that direct sunlight that obviously had been hitting that spot in my head in my part for many, many years."