I’m sharing grisly photos of giant hole in my scalp to urge you not to make my mistake

I'm sharing grisly photos of giant hole in my scalp to urge you not to make my mistake

A MUM has shared grisly photos of her scalp to warn others over the dangers of sunbeds and sun exposure.

Mary Bentley had been using tanning beds since she was a teenager and said she would also spend a lot of time out in the sun.

Mum Mary Bentley had been using tanning beds for years and said she enjoyed spending time in the sun

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Mum Mary Bentley had been using tanning beds for years and said she enjoyed spending time in the sunCredit: Kennedy News
After a cancer scare at 19, she was more cautious. But Mary's dermatologist found a strange mark on her head

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After a cancer scare at 19, she was more cautious. But Mary’s dermatologist found a strange mark on her headCredit: Kennedy News
It was found to be melanoma and medics had to cut out the cancer, leaving her with a hole in her head which exposed her skull

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It was found to be melanoma and medics had to cut out the cancer, leaving her with a hole in her head which exposed her skullCredit: Kennedy News

Even though she stopped chasing a tan a number of years ago, the 34-year-old said the damage had already been done.

During a skin check last month, her dermatologist noticed the flat mark at the centre of her scalp.

A biopsy revealed that Mary had melanoma and surgeons were forced to cut her scalp while she was still awake.

The stay-at-home mum was left with a gaping hole which revealed her skull.

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Stay-at-home mum Mary said she wouldn’t have even noticed the mark if her dermatologist hadn’t checked her scalp.

Mary, who lives in Dallas, Texas, US said she had been paying attention to her moles to see if they had been changing – but not her scalp.

“She biopsied it and about a week later the results came back that it was melanoma.

“They numbed it and cut it out – that was disgusting because as they’re working on your scalp while you’re awake, you can hear the scissors snipping and them cutting your scalp.

“He gets the first large piece cut out and one of the medical assistants goes ‘oh wow I’ve never seen a skull like that before’. I was like ‘I don’t want to hear how you can see my skull’.

“They put a pressure dressing on it and I had to wait four hours while they tested the layers of the skin to see if they got it all,” she said.

But Mary had to go back a second time so they could cut more out.

After that, they called her back again and told her they had managed to remove it all.

“It was a coin size at least and then the actual cut out was a lot larger to make sure they got it all,” she added.

The melanoma was  4.2cm by 2.6cm – larger than a two pound coin.

l bronze skin is not worth it, baking in the sun and tanning beds is not worth it because it could be lethal

Mary Bentley

On July 21 she had surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Centre, where doctors removed an even bigger area measuring 4.5cm x 3.1cm.

It took medics two rounds of cutting away her scalp before they removed the cancer.

She then had to spend two hours in surgery while a plastic surgeon closed the large hole on the top of her head with 13 staples.

The mum-of-three said she had her first cancer scare when she was just 19-years-old, when one biopsy found a pre-cancerous mole.

After that she made sure to take better care of her skin but said the damage had been done.

From there, she had more than 25 biopsies of moles, out of which five were precancerous, as well as the most recent and most serious melanoma on her scalp.

‘I’M SCARRED’

Mary said: “I grew up here in Texas in the pool and on the lake because it’s so hot here. Everyone knows about skin cancer but you don’t think it’ll happen to you.

“When I got into high school I did use a tanning bed, that’s what all the girls were doing – everyone was always bronzed and brown and now I’m paying for it.

“I’ve always had a lot of moles and when I was 19 my husband said ‘you might want to go and get those checked out’ so I went to the dermatologist.

“They did some biopsies and one of them came back that it wasn’t skin cancer but it was a precancerous spot so they had to do a larger biopsy.

“That’s where it all started and I did start being more precautious but the damage was already done.

“I’ve stayed on top of it and I would go to the dermatologist every three to six months and I have several scars [from removals].

“They were never melanoma, they were basal cells and a severe dysplastic nevus – so it’s not cancer but it could become cancer so they just go and do a larger biopsy.”

What are the signs of melanoma you need to know?

The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

Most experts recommend using the simple “ABCDE” rule to look for symptoms of melanoma skin cancer, which can appear anywhere on the body.

  • Asymmetrical – melanomas usually have two very different halves and are an irregular shape
  • Border – melanomas usually have a notched or ragged border
  • Colours – melanomas will usually be a mix of two or more colours
  • Diameter – most melanomas are usually larger than 6mm in diameter
  • Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma

In women, the most common specific location for melanoma skin cancers in the UK is the legs.

Men are more likely to see melanomas in their trunk – the back or torso.

Mary has now had her staples removed and said her hair has already started to regrow.

However, she has been warned that she could develop alopecia and hair loss around the scar.

But at the moment, Mary is healing well and feels as though she had a lucky escape.

Mary added: “With my own children I’ve always driven them crazy because I lather them in sunblock and put long sleeves on them but now this has happened they’re more aware and realise how important it is.

“It’s not a joke, it is serious and it’s not fun to go through. I’m lucky I didn’t have to go through further treatment because it didn’t spread.

“The beautiful bronze skin is not worth it, baking in the sun and tanning beds is not worth it because it could be lethal.

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“You don’t think of that when you’re tanning but it could cost you your life. I just hope people learn to take care of their skin.

“Nowadays they have all these fake tanners if you want to be bronze for the weekend – just go buy one of them, it’s way safer.”

Surgeons have warned Mary that she might suffer with alopecia and hair loss around the scarring

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Surgeons have warned Mary that she might suffer with alopecia and hair loss around the scarringCredit: Kennedy News
Mary has now had her staples out and is warning people of the dangers of tanning

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Mary has now had her staples out and is warning people of the dangers of tanningCredit: Kennedy News
Mary is healing well and feels as though she had a lucky escape

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Mary is healing well and feels as though she had a lucky escapeCredit: Kennedy News


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