Local Authority Assistant Manager and Medical Negligence Lawyers Support World Cancer Day
A Dorset woman diagnosed with skin cancer has revealed the impact the disease has had on her life as she backs a major awareness campaign.
Elizabeth Williams, from Dorchester, attended a GP surgery in August 2016 complaining of a skin lesion on the left side of her nose. It was reported to have been there for around four to five months, with a cycle of scabbing and falling off, then re-appearing.
Over a period of two and a half years, she returned to her GP on multiple occasions reporting the continued recurrence of the lesion on her nose, as well as scabbing and bleeding. She was referred to Dermatology and underwent cryotherapy, which is the process of freezing to remove abnormal tissue.
In May 2019, Elizabeth, age 60, changed GP surgeries and was referred to a dermatology clinic after her first appointment, where she underwent a biopsy. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, on her left nostril.
She underwent surgery, including reconstruction of her nostril, ear skin flap, radiotherapy and de-bulking revision surgery.
Following her diagnosis in September 2019, Elizabeth instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care and whether more could have been done to diagnose and treat her cancer sooner. Her legal team is also helping her access the specialist support she requires.
Elizabeth, who has shown no signs of the cancer recurring, has now joined her legal team in supporting World Cancer Day.
Expert Opinion“The last few years have been incredibly difficult for Elizabeth as she struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis.
Understandably, she also has a number of concerns over whether more could have been done to diagnose and treat her cancer sooner, given that she had attended GP appointments on various occasions regarding the lesion on her nose.
While nothing can make up for what Elizabeth has been through, we’re now investigating her concerns to provide her with the answers she deserves.
Sharing her story as part of World Cancer Day also gives Elizabeth the opportunity to raise awareness around the signs and symptoms of skin cancer.
If people are concerned about their symptoms it’s vital they seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity. Early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer.” Alice Webster, Medical Negligence Lawyer
When Elizabeth attended her original GP in December 2017, she was prescribed a cream to use for three to four weeks. However no advice was given regarding what to do if the lesion hadn’t resolved in that time, and no follow-up appointment was arranged.
In May 2019 she attended another surgery and a routine referral was made to a dermatology clinic.
That August, Elizabeth reported swelling around the site of the lesion. Her referral was upgraded to urgent and she underwent a biopsy later that month. She was diagnosed with skin cancer that September.
Elizabeth, who has a husband and two children and is an assistant manager at her local authority, said: “Hearing that I had cancer is a moment I’ll never forget. I had been to the doctor more than once about my nose, but not for one minute did I ever think it was something that serious.
“When I was given my diagnosis, I was devastated. As it had been there for some time, I was also worried that it might have spread.
“I’ve been left with facial scarring due to the surgery, and also had to have part of my nose reconstructed which was really distressing to go through.
“While I’m now cancer free, I’m constantly worried that it’s going to come back. The whole experience has really taken it’s toll on my mental health and really knocked my confidence.
“At the same time, I’m so grateful to still be here and thankful for the support I’ve had. I know nothing will change what’s happened, but I want to make others aware of what to look out for when it comes to skin cancer.
“I also need some answers; I feel like it’s the least I deserve.”
World Cancer Day is 4 February. Find out more