A hero hairdresser saved a customer’s life after finding a lump on his head which was diagnosed as cancer days later.
Adam Shatford, 54, a driving instructor from Northampton, popped in for a trim when his student failed to turn up for a lesson on October 3 last year.
Hairdresser Erinna Lindfield, 42, was brushing his hair when she noticed a hard mole-sized lump under the sideburns by his left ear.
Two hours later, the father-of-three went to see a doctor on the advice of Ms Lindfield.
Days later, he was diagnosed with stage three melanoma and doctors discovered more cancerous lumps on his forehead.
He was given the all clear last week after surgery to remove the lumps and lymph nodes, and has returned to the hairdressers to thank Ms Lindfield for saving his life.
Adam Shatford, 54, a driving instructor from Northampton, was advised to see a doctor by Erinna Lindfield during a trim. He was diagnosed with stage three melanoma days later
Mr Shatford, a father-of-three had surgery to remove the lump, and others, in October, followed by surgery last month to remove lymph nodes
Mr Shatford said: ‘Erinna had never cut my hair before, another stylist did it.
‘While she was brushing my hair, she said, “Has anyone ever checked that mole out? It costs nothing”.
‘I left here and I phoned the doctor and within two hours a doctor had asked me to come in.
‘If Erinna had never said “you need to get it checked”, I would never had phoned.’
Mr Shatford appeared to be healthy otherwise, being a keen runner and showing no symptoms of ill health.
He said: ‘I have been told the reason it’s so dangerous is because you are not ill until it’s progressed.
‘It was definitely from the sun – it affects people’s pigments differently.’
Melanoma occurs when DNA in the skin is damaged, normally by the sun.
Around 2,285 people died from the disease in 2016, according to Cancer Research UK statistics.
And more than 9,000 are expected to die from the aggressive skin cancer this year in the US, the American Cancer Society estimates.
‘I’m very lucky,’ Mr Shatford said. ‘I could have easily nodded my head at Erinna but I thought I will phone and both surgeons and doctors paid tribute to Erinna.
‘If she had not said that, I would have got worse until I was very bad.’
Mr Shatford said Ms Lindfield had saved his life and he felt lucky to be alive
Mr Shatford had shown no signs of ill health. Melamona, most often caused by skin damage, is a dangerous cancer because it doesn’t necessarily show signs
‘I felt 100 per cent fine until they operated. I usually ran four to five miles a day.’
Mr Shatford went under the knife on October 23 to remove the cancer and had further surgery last month to remove lymph nodes.
Depending on the severity of the cancer, a doctor might offer radiotherapy to the area where the surgeon removed the lymph nodes, but Mr Shatford did not need any more treatment.
Ms Lindfield, who works at Jazz Hairdressing, said: ‘I hadn’t done Adam’s hair before, but I started cutting his hair.
‘I saw the mole and felt like I had to saw something. I knew that it wasn’t right.
‘It was very misshapen, dark and bumpy. It was about the size of a 5p, right in the side burn.
‘I’m not a doctor, I just wanted him to get professional advice.
‘He called the doctor straight away. When he came back to the hairdressers, he was very grateful. He bought me a bottle of Prosecco.
‘He said it was one of the best hair cuts he had ever had. I’m just glad he came in on that day and he got it checked out.’
Mr Shatford added: ‘I’m very grateful to her, and the NHS.’
WHAT IS MELANOMA AND HOW CAN YOU PREVENT IT?
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It happens after the DNA in skin cells is damaged (typically due to harmful UV rays) and then not repaired so it triggers mutations that can form malignant tumors.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 91,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in the US in 2018 and more than 9,000 are expected to die from it.
Around 15,900 new cases occur every year in the UK, with 2,285 Britons dying from the disease in 2016, according to Cancer Research UK statistics.
- Sun exposure: UV and UVB rays from the sun and tanning beds are harmful to the skin
- Moles: The more moles you have, the greater the risk for getting melanoma
- Skin type: Fairer skin has a higher risk for getting melanoma
- Hair color: Red heads are more at risk than others
- Personal history: If you’ve had melanoma once, then you are more likely to get it again
- Family history: If previous relatives have been diagnosed, then that increases your risk
This can be done by removing the entire section of the tumor or by the surgeon removing the skin layer by layer. When a surgeon removes it layer by layer, this helps them figure out exactly where the cancer stops so they don’t have to remove more skin than is necessary.
The patient can decide to use a skin graft if the surgery has left behind discoloration or an indent.
- Immunotherapy, radiation treatment or chemotherapy:
This is needed if the cancer reaches stage III or IV. That means that the cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body.
- Use sunscreen and do not burn
- Avoid tanning outside and in beds
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside
- Keep newborns out of the sun
- Examine your skin every month
- See your physician every year for a skin exam
Source: Skin Cancer Foundation and American Cancer Society