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Woman, 27, said she could lose the ‘entire right side’ of her nose after being diagnosed with skin cancer

A woman who was “never careful in the sun” revealed how she could lose the “entire right side” of her nose after the lump on the side turned out to be skin cancer.

Lauren Coathup, 27, of Chelmsford, Essex, was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on Christmas Eve 2018, after noticing that the small lump on her nose gradually grew in size.

In her conversation with FEMAIL, she said that while doctors couldn’t tell her exactly how much of her nose she would lose, she was told this could be the ‘whole right side’ of her nose and some cartilage.

She admitted that even during her vacation she ‘hardly wore sunscreen’ and confessed that she was ‘really lucky’ that her cancer, the most common form in the UK, did not spread under her skin where it wouldn’t be visible.

Lauren Coathup, 27, of Chelmsford, Essex, discovered that she had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on Christmas Eve 2018. Shown with friend Ross after her diagnosis

Lauren Coathup, 27, of Chelmsford, Essex, discovered that she had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on Christmas Eve 2018. Shown with friend Ross after her diagnosis

Lauren's nose for her surgery to remove the skin cancer (photo)

Lauren's nose for her surgery to remove the skin cancer (photo)

Lauren's nose for her surgery to remove the skin cancer (photo)

Lauren's nose for her surgery to remove the skin cancer (photo)

Lauren first noticed a lump on the side of her nose in January 2018, but only considered its severity when she noticed that the skin around it darkened while the lump remained beautiful

“I’m very embarrassed to admit this now, knowing what I know, but I barely wore sunscreen,” said Lauren.

“The only time I would do that was on vacation, and it was after I had been out in the sun and burned a bit.”

“I wasn’t careful in the sun because I always wanted to have a natural color and never did it wisely.”

She added, “The most shocking thing I discovered was the uncertainty, although the lump was visible and only small, I was told it could spread under my skin, which wouldn’t be visible.

She admitted that even during her vacation, she “hardly wore sunscreen” and confessed that she was “really lucky” that her cancer didn’t spread under her skin. Pictured, after her diagnosis

Lauren admitted that she would only wear sunscreen if her skin was already burned. Pictured, with boyfriend Ross after her diagnosis

Lauren admitted that she would only wear sunscreen if her skin was already burned. Pictured, with boyfriend Ross after her diagnosis

Lauren admitted that she would only wear sunscreen if her skin was already burned. Pictured, with boyfriend Ross after her diagnosis

“So the amount of skin I could lose could be much bigger than I first thought. Fortunately, I was really lucky and it had not spread further because I had caught it early enough ‘.

Lauren first noticed a lump on the side of her nose in January 2018, but never considered its severity.

It was only when she was on vacation in Italy six months later that she realized that the color had remained beautiful while her skin had darkened and the size had increased significantly.

After a visit to her doctor, she was referred to several dermatologists and eventually, after months of confusion and non-diagnosis, Lauren was referred for a biopsy.

On Christmas Eve in 2018, she received a letter with her devastating diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer that slowly develops in the top layers of the skin.

While doctors couldn't tell her exactly how much of her nose she would lose, she was advised that this could be the 'whole right side of her nose.' Depicted, for her operations

While doctors couldn't tell her exactly how much of her nose she would lose, she was advised that this could be the 'whole right side of her nose.' Depicted, for her operations

While doctors couldn’t tell her exactly how much of her nose she would lose, she was advised that this could be the ‘whole right side of her nose.’ Depicted, for her operations

Lauren's nose is pictured before her surgery to remove the skin cancer

Lauren's nose is pictured before her surgery to remove the skin cancer

Lauren's nose is pictured before her surgery to remove the skin cancer

Lauren's nose is pictured before her surgery to remove the skin cancer

On Christmas Eve in 2018, Lauren received a letter with her devastating diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that slowly develops in the upper layers of the skin

“It was a complete shock,” said Lauren. “I was only 27 when I got my diagnosis and I had only had the lump checked just in case and because I noticed it visibly changed and got bigger. I never thought it would really be anything to worry about. ‘

Doctors were concerned that Lauren’s cancer could spread further down her nose cartilage, but said they wouldn’t know until they started her Mohs surgery – a technique used to remove skin cancer.

WHAT IS BASALCEL CARCINOMA?

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Non-melanoma means that it does not involve skin pigment cells.

BCC often appears as bleeding crusts

BCC often appears as bleeding crusts

BCC accounts for over 80 percent of all skin cancers in the UK, with over 100,000 new cases each year.

It is mainly caused by excessive exposure to UV light from the sun or tanning beds.

BCC can appear anywhere on the body, but is most common in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck and ears.

The following people are most at risk:

  • People with fair skin or hair
  • Those who work outside the home
  • People who use sunbeds
  • Those with a personal history of the condition

BCC is usually painless. Early symptoms often include only a scab that occasionally bleeds and does not heal.

Some appear as flat, red, scaly patches or have a pearly edge. The latter can then erode into an ulcer.

Others are lumpy with shiny nodules traversed by blood vessels.

Most BCCs are curable, but treatment is complex if not used for a long time.

Treatment usually involves removing the cancerous tumor and some of the surrounding skin.

Source: British Skin Foundation and NHS choices

In August 2019, Lauren had her surgical removal and reconstructive plastic surgery and was delighted and discovered by her surgeon that the cancer had not spread.

“I felt extremely anxious,” she said. “I had two surgeries: one for skin cancer removal and one for my reconstructive plastic surgery.

“No one could tell me exactly how much of my nose I would lose, and I was advised that it could be all the right side of my nose and part of my cartilage.”

While left behind cancer-free after her surgeries, Lauren admitted it made her 'paranoid' to go out in the sun for a while. Pictured, with boyfriend Ross after her diagnosis

While left behind cancer-free after her surgeries, Lauren admitted it made her 'paranoid' to go out in the sun for a while. Pictured, with boyfriend Ross after her diagnosis

While left behind cancer-free after her surgeries, Lauren admitted it made her ‘paranoid’ to go out in the sun for a while. Pictured, with boyfriend Ross after her diagnosis

Lauren's nose is shown after her surgery to remove the skin cancer

Lauren's nose is shown after her surgery to remove the skin cancer

Lauren's nose is shown after her surgery to remove the skin cancer

Lauren's nose is shown after her surgery to remove the skin cancer

In August 2019, Lauren had her surgical removal and reconstructive plastic surgery and was delighted and discovered by her surgeon that the cancer had not spread. Pictured, her nose follows her operations

Lauren says she was “never careful in the sun” and “always wanted a tan, of course.” Pictured, for her diagnosis

“So it was really a scary time, but I had such great support around me that I really got through it.”

While left behind cancer-free after her surgeries, Lauren admitted that it left her ‘paranoid’ for a while.

“I am very lucky to have a strong support system from friends, family and friend,” said Lauren. “But I had never anticipated the mental struggles that followed. For a while I was paranoid about going out in the daylight. ‘

However, Lauren was recommended by her plastic surgeon to the SunSense range of sunscreens with SPF50 +.

She claims that after using the product – one of the five prescription sunscreens here in the UK – she feels comfortable going back in the sun.

“The SunSense products have an SPF rating of over 50, protecting them from UVA and UVB rays, both of which cause skin damage,” she said. Also, the fact that the product is Australian and has the highest level of protection for Australian sun protection means that I feel extremely safe when I am wearing it.

Lauren is comfortable again in the sun. Pictured, with her boyfriend Ross, two weeks after her surgery

Lauren is comfortable again in the sun. Pictured, with her boyfriend Ross, two weeks after her surgery

Lauren is comfortable again in the sun. Pictured, with her boyfriend Ross, two weeks after her surgery

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