I always thought I was pretty good with sunscreen and skin care – into my 30s in particular, I would wear SPF50+. In saying that, I still didn’t appreciate the importance of reapplying, or wearing a hat, or seeking shade during the day. I found out I had skin cancer in April this year – a basal cell carcinoma (BCC) on the side of my nose. The dermatologist I saw thought it was probably there for about 12 months. I had no idea that it was skin cancer or that it could be. If I ever thought it was anything to do with skin cancer, I would have got it checked sooner. My GP picked it up first and referred me to a dermatologist. When I booked into the dermatology clinic they said that I needed to see them straight away. Because of where the BCC was, they also explained that I would need cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.
My dermatologist recommended the Skin Health Institute, explained how brilliant everyone was and that they were the right people to help. So I went back and had a conversation with my GP, and we went through it all. My GP knew how worried I was and so did some ringing around to find out more about the Institute and to reassure me that it was the right path to go down.
I was extremely stressed – and googling a lot, desperate to work out what they were going to do in the procedure, what it was going to look like and whether I would look the same. There wasn’t much information around for people my age. Catherine Bennett, she was brilliant. I had taken recent photos of my nose because I know it’s so important to document these things, and so I sent the photos to her. Catherine was incredible over the phone – knowledgeable and reassuring, she talked me through everything.
Overall, my experience at the Skin Health Institute was superb – truly impressive in every way. We are so lucky to have such skilled, internationally recognised people at the Institute. Apart from the surgeons, who were amazing, the nursing staff were exceptional. They made the biggest difference – absolutely gold star, ten out of ten. I was incredibly stressed and anxious, but I cannot overstate how important and reassuring they were to me throughout the whole experience