A mum who thought a large hole on her chin was just a blackhead was shocked to find out it was deadly skin cancer.
Kari Cummins, 35, decided to see a dermatologist after years of over exposing her skin to sunlight and tanning beds.
Despite noticing a strange mark on her chin, Kari, from California, assumed she had nothing to worry about and dismissed the growth as a spot.
However, after numerous tests, it was found that Kari had squamous cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer that if left untreated could have spread to her organs.
The growths were removed, however Kari was left with a hole the size of a ten cent piece in her chin, which required 35 stitches.
She now wants to warn others of the importance of looking after their skin and hopes to prevent this from happening to others.
Kari, a stay-at-home mum, said: “I have always had clear skin so I did think that the spot was slightly unusual.
“I assumed it was a blackhead or a weird type of adult acne, as I hadn’t seen anything like that before.
“I have fair skin, and I did use tanning beds in my twenties and early thirties to get a base tan before going on holiday.
“I wasn’t a frequent user, and only used them occasionally, but I’ve learnt that it doesn’t take much for the UV rays to accelerate the growth of the carcinoma, especially if you have fair skin.
“I also grew up by a lake and I spent a lot of time in the sun and I don’t think that helped either."
Now, she's just grateful she was able to have the cancer removed in time to prevent it spreading.
“If I hadn’t had it removed when I did, chances are it would have grown larger and deeper into the tissue and could have spread.
“It took 35 stitches to close up the hole and it took weeks to heal, I have now been left with a scar that is very noticeable on my face.
“At first I felt very self-conscious, but now I find it empowering as I can use my experiences to share my story in the hope of urging others that it is so important to look after your skin.”
Kari visited a dermatologist after urging her own mother to see a specialist as she too had some worrying marks on her skin.
She added: “I had a few raised bumps and scabs on my face and so biopsies were taken and that’s when I found out that they were potentially cancerous.
“Thankfully they were non melanoma but I still had to get them surgically removed.
“The lump on my chin was like an underground blackhead, and when that was removed I couldn’t believe what I had been left with.
“The one on my forehead didn’t affect me, the scars healed really fast, however the one on my chin was a lot worse and I felt self-conscious for quite a while.”
Kari has since noticed a few more raised lumps on her forehead, and after further testing it was confirmed these too will have to be removed.
Kari said: “It just shows that this can happen to anyone, unfortunately I neglected my skin and now I am facing the consequences.
“It’s also really important for people to be more conscious of what creams and lotions they are putting onto their bodies, some are filled with toxic chemicals and these are just as bad for you.”