LIFESTYLE

Nurse Who Used Sunbeds Left With Coin-Shaped Hole In Nose After Skin Cancer Removal (Graphic Images)

'You should never do anything that's going to harm you.'

12/04/2016 11:35

Warning: This article contains medical images of a graphic nature.

A woman who developed skin cancer after using sunbeds from the age of 13 has released shocking images of the coin-sized hole she had cut out of her nose as a result.

Under peer pressure to have a tan, Jade Thrasher, 26, said she had 20 minute sessions three times a week for 11 years.

Then in 2014, she noticed a clear spot forming on her nose, which kept bursting and failing to heal.

Jade was just 24 years old when a string of biopsies revealed that the growth was actually skin cancer.

Surgeons had to cut out a circle the size of a five pence piece from above her right nostril. They then replaced the skin with flesh taken from her chest.

Luckily she made a full recovery, but has since sworn off sunbeds for good, and is speaking out to warn other youngsters that being bronzed is simply not worth it.

PA Real Life Features
Jade before and after her diagnosis

Jade, married to Matthew, 29, owner of a house moving business, said she started tanning young due to "pressure" from others.

"It is seen as unattractive to be pale where we live in Nashville, Tennessee," she said.

"I want teenagers to see the photo of the hole in my nose so that they know what could happen.

"I used to have a sunbed in my house, but I've thrown it in the trash. I didn't want to sell it, because I didn't want anybody else to go through what I went through.

"I definitely regret the years of tanning, but in a way I saved my skin at a young age because I got cancer.

"If I had carried on tanning, my skin would have been a whole lot worse."

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When she was in her early teens, Jade's parents Charles, 55, and Penny, 50, had a sunbed at home, but she didn't use it much - preferring instead to go to a salon and pamper herself.

She said going on sunbeds was normal in her community and she did not know of anyone who had ever developed cancer after using them.

Then, when she got engaged to Matthew in February 2010, her tanning schedule became more intense to prepare for her wedding that June.

"I would spend 20 minutes on the sunbed six or seven times a week, because I wanted a tan for the wedding," she said.

After tying the knot and moving into her first marital home, Jade purchased her own tanning bed, which she used a couple of times a week.

By this point, she could see her skin growing wrinkled.

It wasn't until the spring of 2014, when her dad alerted her to a worrying sore on her face, that she began to realise the true extent of the damage.

At first, she didn't think much of the spot – then, one morning in August of the same year, she woke up with blood running down the side of her face.

"The sore had burst open overnight," she said. "I just thought I must have scratched myself in my sleep.

"A month later, it had almost healed but then it bled again.

"After a few months when it failed to heal, being a nurse, I realised what was going on.

"I just knew. I went to my local doctor in October 2014 and said 'I have cancer on my face'."

Jade said she was quite matter of fact about her brush with the disease, because her job meant she knew what to expect.

It was her loved ones who it hit harder.

"I think I had already accepted the fact that I had cancer before it was confirmed, but obviously I was still nervous," she recalled.

"As a parent or a husband though, you never want it to be your child or spouse, so they were pretty torn up."

Story continues below...

Signs Of Skin Cancer

Jade had two biopsies at her local doctor's surgery because the first one was inconclusive.

The second confirmed she did indeed have cancer, and she was transferred to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville to meet with consultants.

Surgeons did not know how much of her nose they would have to take off until the day of the procedure in January 2015.

It was this uncertainty that Jade describes as the "scariest part" of her ordeal.

In the end, medics sliced away a 5p sized portion of flesh.

When she first saw the hole, Jade said she had a "sinking feeling."

Luckily, though, she underwent plastic surgery on the same day, with doctors removing six inches of the skin on her chest to replace what had been taken from her nose.

As the cancer had been caught early, she did not need chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

In the summer of 2015, Jade had laser surgery at the same hospital for her chest.

Then in January 2016, she went back for another procedure to sand down her nose.

Needing two months off work to recover after the main surgery, she has since had visual full body check ups every three months to make sure the disease has not spread.

PA Real Life Features
Jade was left with a coin-sized hole in her nose after having the cancer removed.

At the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, before her surgery, doctors told her the cancer could have been there for up to five years, without her knowing.

Jade said: "After surgery, for three weeks I could not bend over or do anything for myself because the graft on my sore was so crucial that I wasn't allowed to apply pressure to my head

"My husband had to help me get dressed and do daily tasks.

"There's always going to be a scar on my nose, but it's not noticeable. The scar on my chest is more obvious. 

"I was scared that I would look significantly different.

"It could have been a lot worse than it was."

Jade's outlook on tanning has changed completely. She now remains under an umbrella in the sun or wears factor 50 cream.

"When you're a teenager you think you're invincible," she said. "But I covered my face while using the sunbed and I still got cancer."

"I have had tonnes of girls saying I have saved their skin, after they've seen my picture and been put off sunbeds.

"You have to be confident in your own skin, regardless of what colour it is.

"Everybody is beautiful in their own way and you should never do anything that's going to harm you."

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