It’s one of life’s most unfortunate truths: avoiding the sun doesn’t make us invincible to skin cancer.
Mum-of-two Keely Jones learned this the hard way. The 40-year-old from North Carolina was recently left with a hole in her face the size of a five-cent piece, after mistaking a slow–growing basel cell carcinoma for a run-of-the-mill pimple.
“I don’t usually have blemishes on my face, so it was unusual for me to get a spot,” she told the Daily Mail. “I thought it was just a stubborn one, so I just continued to pick it and every time it would scab over and bleed.”
It wasn’t until a beautician advised her to see a dermatologist that she eventually got tested.
“I’m lucky that I got the lump removed when I did, or it’s likely that the cancer would’ve spread across my face,” she said.
“I only ever used tanning beds when I was in my teens and I hardly went in the sun anymore. And when I was in the sun my face would always be covered.
Keely needed three surgeries to “get all of the cancer out” and 20 stitches in total to close the wound it left behind.
“This is common as there is often 50-100% more infected area than shows on the surface,” she added in a Facebook post. “They are hopeful I’ll have a minimal scar within 2-3 months.”
Now, she wants her story to serve as a cautionary tale.
“Hopefully it will help at least one person learn the importance of looking after their skin,” she said.
“Skin cancer can happen to anyone.”