A grandfather who was left with a gaping hole in his face after cancer treatment doesn’t leave his home in case he frightens children.
Stephen White, 51, said he has been living ‘like a vampire’ and has barely seen daylight in four years.
He became a recluse after a rare nasal cancer diagnosis left him needing his nose chopped off in 2015, leaving him with a hole in the centre of his face.
The former sales assistant, from Exeter, Devon, said: ‘I became a prisoner in my own home, only going out at night time like a vampire, and with my hoodie up, when there was less traffic and less risk of me bumping into people who would judge me.
Stephen White, 51, has barely been outside in four years since having his nose cutt off following a nasal cancer diagnosis (pictured before surgery)
He has been living ‘like a vampire’ and has barely seen daylight in four years after the operation (before, left, and after)
‘I scare my grandchildren and when I go out in the street. I scare, not just children, but everybody. People look at me and cross the road to avoid me.
‘I couldn’t go out because I couldn’t see to cross the road and would be paranoid about bumping into people, as I couldn’t see them until they were a yard in front of me.
‘Then they would look at my face and see I didn’t have a nose. It destroyed my self-confidence and I now have no self-esteem.
Mr White went to doctors in March 2015 when he couldn’t shift a nosebleed for weeks.
He was prescribed antibiotics when doctors presumed it was caused by an infection or the flu.
The former sales assistant said he feels like ‘a prisoner in his own home’, only venturing out at nighttime
His nightmare began in March 2015 when he couldn’t shift a nosebleed for weeks and went to the doctors
He was prescribed antibiotics when doctors presumed it was caused by an infection or the flu
An MRI scan a fortnight later revealed the bone at the centre of his nose revealed he had a cancerous tumour.
He said: ‘It was a real shock. It’s such a rare cancer that they hadn’t seen anything like it before.
‘There were about 15 people in the room discussing what the options were.
‘The cancer was right in the middle of my face and I’m still waiting for a new nose.
One of the rarer forms of cancer, only around 400 people are diagnosed with it in their nasal cavity and sinuses, according to CancerResearch.org
Medics told Mr White he would need surgery to assess how far the cancer had spread and whether there was a risk of it reaching his brain and spinal cord.
An MRI scan a fortnight later revealed the bone at the centre of his nose revealed he had a cancerous tumour
He went under the knife two months later in July. They discovered the aggressive tumour was making its way through his naval cavity and had to remove the nose.
Mr White said: ‘I can’t remember how long the operation was but it felt like it took hours.
‘When I woke up, I had no teeth, top palate or nose because they saw the cancer was attacking my palate and gums.
‘And they removed my teeth anticipating that the radiotherapy treatment later on would destroy the enamel and they would rot away. I couldn’t speak because my teeth had gone.
‘The cancer had been discovered in my nasal cavity. It had gone under my right eye and worked its way to my nose.
‘It got into the fleshy part of my nose above my teeth, and was working its way to the back of my head, but had stopped between the spinal column and brain.
‘I had this big blood plaster stapled onto my face. It looked like a creature from the film Alien and I just burst into tears.
‘When my daughter showed me my face I just thought, ‘There goes my life. I’m going to be the scariest person walking the streets. People will think I’m
The grandfather spent three days recovering in hospital before returning home.
He is now waiting on a prosthetic nose which he hopes will give him the confidence to date again.
WHAT IS NASAL/SINUS CANCER?
It’s a rare type of cancer that affects around 400 people in the UK each year, usually men aged over 40
Nasal and sinus cancer is different from cancer of the area where the nose and throat connect.
The most common symptoms of nasal and sinus cancer are:
- a persistent blocked nose, which usually only affects 1 side
- a decreased sense of smell
- mucus running from your nose
- mucus draining into the back of your nose and throat
These symptoms can be similar to more common and less serious conditions, such as a cold or sinusitis.
At a later stage, symptoms can include:
- pain or numbness in the face, particularly in the upper cheek
- swollen glands in the neck
- partial loss of vision or double vision
- a bulging or persistently watering eye
- pain or pressure in 1 ear
- a persistent lump or growth on your face, nose or roof of your mouth
Several factors are known to increase the risk of developing nasal and sinus cancer.
- your gender – men are more likely to develop nasal and sinus cancer than women
- prolonged exposure to certain substances through your work – including wood dust, leather dust, cloth fibres, nickel, chromium and formaldehyde
- smoking – the more you smoke, the higher your risk of developing several types of cancer, including nasal and sinus cancer
- human papillomavirus (HPV) – a group of viruses that affect the skin and moist membranes, such as the mouth and throat (more than 1 in 5 nasal and sinus cancers are linked to HPV)