'A bad haircut may have saved my life' - says Sunderland skin cancer battler

A skin cancer battler has told how a "bad haircut may have saved my life".

Friday, 21st September 2018, 14:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 01:52 am

With his regular hairdresser busy, Cameron Quigley tried a new barbers' shop and was initially dismayed when the side of his head was shaved shorter and higher than normal.

Yet the haircut revealed a discoloured mark that was diagnosed as cancerous after it was removed by his GP.

Cameron Quigley believes a "bad haircut" may have saved his life.

Cameron, 21, from Sunderland, was quickly admitted into hospital for a operation to remove surrounding skin in an attempt to prevent the melanoma cancer from spreading.

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Now recovering at his Red House home, a grateful Cameron said: "I suppose you can say a bad haircut saved my life.

"Who knows how long it would have been before anyone would have spotted it if I had carried on having my hair cut as normal?"

"It wasn't causing me any pain and it could have been weeks, months or years before we saw it. By then it could have been too late."

A view of Cameron's post-operation scars.

Cameron only went to his GP a fortnight after spotting the red and dark mark following repeated appeals by his parents and girlfriend Georgia Bell.

He added: "The doctor took it off with a local anesthetic and sent it away.

"Two weeks later I was contacted by the GP to say it was an aggressive form of melanoma.

"I did not have a clue what melanoma was and it was a shock and stressful at first."

The blemish before the operation.

The melanoma was classed as stage two - which carries an 80 per cent survival rate among men - with the surrounding skin removed during an hour-long operation in July at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The surgery has left him with two lengthy scars up to six inches long stretching up from near his left ear to his forehead and across the left side of his head.

Doctors are also monitoring a swollen lymph node underneath his jaw to ensure that it is merely a nervous reaction to the operation.

While they cannot say for certain how he contracted the melanoma, fair-skinned Cameron admits he used to binge on sunbeds and would never use sun cream outdoors.

He said: "I used to be on them for a month at a time, two-to-three times a week for nine minutes at a time over a two-year period.

"I know now it was far too much and I won't be using them again. One hundred per cent.

"When I was out with my mates and the weather was nice, then like a lot of people my age, I wouldn't use anything to protect my skin.

"That's what I am now telling other people. Make sure you take care and don't follow my example."

Cameron, who is due to start a new job with the TSB bank in fraud detection next month, is spending his spare time until then volunteering with Sunderland cancer support group MelanomaMe.

He has thanked founders Kerry Rafferty and Elaine Taylor for their help and also mum Estelle Quigley, 48, a cleaner, dad Kevin Quigley, 56, a care worker, who are also from Red House, and girlfriend Georgia, 20, a call centre worker,

Cameron added: "MelanomaMe have offered me daily support while my family have had a lot to put up while I was down and needed taking to different appointments.

"They've all been brilliant and I'm just hoping I can help prevent other people from going through what I've gone through."