WHEN Tracy Summerfield Developed a Small Spot Inside Her Nostril, Her Doctor Said It Was Nothing to Worry About


When Tracy Summerfield developed a small spot inside her nostril, her doctor said it was nothing to worry about. However, three years later, the mother from Manchester was diagnosed with skin cancer, which grew all the way down to her lip.

Tracy, 53, was horrified when the small spot in her nostril developed into skin cancer. Faced with this diagnosis, she proposed to her long-term partner but feared having a significant scar at her wedding.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous Digital, Tracy shares her story…

As I looked in the mirror on my wedding morning, I couldn’t believe the reflection staring back at me. I felt like a beautiful bride, something I never thought would be possible.

Three years earlier, in April 2015, I was about to go to work as a nursing assistant when I noticed a small spot inside my right nostril. I didn’t think much of it at the time and assumed it would clear up on its own. But a few weeks later, it was still there.

I went to see my GP, who said it looked like an infection and prescribed an antibiotic cream. I used it twice a day, but it still didn’t clear up. I didn’t dwell on it as my partner Colin and I had busy lives. We’d been together since 1989, and we both had grown-up children from previous relationships. Any free time we had, we spent with our family.

But in July 2018, I noticed the spot had started growing outside of my nose. It looked as though it was spreading from my nose down onto my upper lip. My face was covered with scars. I looked hideous and couldn’t stop crying.

I went back to my GP, who this time referred me for an emergency appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist for a biopsy and scan. Even though the spot was slightly painful and irritating, I was still convinced it was nothing sinister and told Colin I’d go on my own to get the results. I never expected to hear such awful news. “I’m sorry,” the consultant said, “we have found a cancerous tumour at the back of your nose.”

My friend Mary, who had come to the appointment, put her arms around me. I couldn’t move or speak. The consultant explained that the growth was 2cm by 3cm, and the cancer had spread to the skin on my upper lip. He told me I’d need surgery to remove the tumour, but it was likely to leave my face disfigured.

“I’ll be scarred for life?” I asked him, tears in my eyes. I was distraught, but what upset me most was wondering how I was going to tell Colin and the children. I needed to get better so I could be around for my family.

That night, when Colin got home, I sat him down and told him everything. Before he could get upset, I got down on one knee and took his hand. “Will you marry me?” I asked him. We’d never felt the need to get married, but now my priorities had changed. Colin pulled me to my feet. “Nothing would make me happier,” he said.

I told our kids about the cancer but followed up with the happy news about our engagement, refusing to let them get too upset. We’d already booked a holiday to Barbados that November to celebrate Colin’s 50th birthday, so we decided we would get married there, just the two of us. I knew there was a risk I’d be facially disfigured at my wedding, but marrying Colin was the thing that mattered.

In August 2018, I had my first operation to remove the tumour. When I woke four hours later, my nose and top lip were packed with bandages. I was in pain but was discharged that day to recover at home. Surgeons had managed to remove all traces of the cancer, so I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Instead, I could focus on my next operation and our wedding.

My nose was packed with sterile bandages, and I was in too much pain to leave the house. Underneath the bandages, there was one big hole where my nostrils once were. I didn’t see how I could ever look the same again. Colin told me he loved me no matter what, but I was still distraught. I didn’t know how to accept my new face.

Three weeks later, I had more surgery. The operation went better than expected. Surgeons managed to take skin from the side of my face and put it over my top lip, building me a new septum with cartilage from my ear. But three weeks later, when the stitches were removed, I saw what was left behind. My face was covered with scars. I looked hideous and couldn’t stop crying. Colin told me he loved me no matter what, but I was still distraught. I didn’t know how to accept my new face.

With just five weeks before our wedding, I knew my scars would still be visible, so I got in touch with Look Good Feel Better, a charity that does makeovers for women who have suffered from cancer.

In October 2018, I had a trial at Maggie’s Cancer Centre, Oldham. Looking in the mirror afterwards, I couldn’t believe it. The makeup artist had disguised my scars, and they were barely noticeable. “I look like me again,” I cried.

On the morning of the wedding, I remembered what the makeup artist had taught me and used the samples she’d given me to conceal the scars on my face. An hour later, I was ready and walked down the aisle in the gown I’d bought especially. When I met Colin on the beach and we exchanged vows, he couldn’t take his eyes off me. “You look stunning,” he told me.

Colin and Tracy got married in Barbados. It was such a special and emotional day for us both. Now, over a year on, my scars are still there, but I’m learning to live with them. I call them my warrior scars. They are reminders that despite what I went through, I’m still here.

We previously reported on a singer who was diagnosed with cancer three times after mistaking a spot for acne.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *