A six-year-old girl has been hailed as a lifesaver after spotting a mole on her mum which was in the earliest stages of cancer.
Kelly Laws had got the mark on her left side checked out when it first appeared five years ago, but thought nothing more of it until Elouise point out that it looked unusual.
Now the 31-year-old is awaiting the results of a second biopsy she underwent at Sunderland Royal Hospital and it is hoped the problem cells, confirmed to be melanoma, have been removed during the first op.
As she recovers, health care assistant Kelly, from Town End Farm, has praised her curious and caring daughter, after she was given a referral by her GP at Southwick Health Centre, who spotted the mole had doubled in size to 10mm since it was first recorded.
Kelly said Elouise’s fascination with GPs has fired up her interest in medicine at a young age.
“I was doing my make-up and didn’t have a top on and she looked at my side and just went ‘Oh, that’s different” she said.
I will never be able to put into words how grateful and proud I am to have her as my daughter.Kelly Laws
“I said ok, and it’s not somewhere I would look, but I did the next morning and she was right, it looked a bit different and I thought I’d better tell the doctors.
“I thought it would be fine and just brushed it off and I thought she just wants to go to the doctors because she loves the doctor and will find any reason to see him.
“But I thought maybe a should see him as it had changed.
“I was sent to dermatology at Sunderland Royal and they put it under a microscope and I didn’t think anything of it to be honest, but they told me I would need it removed, and I just looked at my Mam and said ok.
“They took some photos and I got it removed on the same day and then four weeks later, I phoned for the results.”
Kelly said when the receptionist said she did not have her results, but that she had been booked in to see a specialist, she knew there was something more to worry about.
It was confirmed at that appointment it had been a stage one melanoma, meaning it had been caught as it was first developing.
She added: “I was told at that clinic, it was put very bluntly by the nurse, that ‘your daughter saved your life’ and that was the only time I got emotional.
“I would say to anyone else, look out for potentially suspicious moles and if anything changes go and get it checked straight away.
“Elouise was FaceTiming her friend and she said to her ‘I’ve saved my Mam’s life’ and she was saying how ‘My mam had cancer and I found it’ and she’s so matter of fact about it.
“It’s not a place I would have on show, I’d have it covered unless I was on holiday, so I might not have seen it.
“I will never be able to put into words how grateful and proud I am to have her as my daughter.
“I’ve been told I have to wear sun cream all year round, even in winter, constantly.”
Kelly now goes for checks every three months, with her lymph nodes also monitored.
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the team which has treated Kelly, said, “We would encourage anyone who notices any changes to skin lesions to have them checked.
“While the majority of the approximately 150 referrals we receive each week on behalf of patients suspected of having skin cancer, are found not to be skin cancer, there are people who go on to have, sometimes life-saving, treatment.”
Kelly, who has been supported through her care by dad Kev, 58, who works on oil rigs, and sister Haley Farquhar, 33, will be running alongside Elouise, her own mum Bev, 57, who works in a pharmacy, and sister Anisa, 36, as they run the Race For Life at Herrington County Park on Sunday, June 2.
To donate, visit their page via fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/kelly-and-family-2
More about the signs of skin cancer can be found through www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer/symptoms/skin-cancer