A woman from Northumberland, England, says she’s thankful to be cancer-free after her face was “forever changed” by a chickenpox scar.
Louise Thorell, now 32, said she came down with the chickenpox at age 5, but it wasn’t until decades later, in 2018, that a facial scar left behind from the illness took on a “waxier,” tougher texture, Media Drum World reported.
“Around that time, I accidentally scratched my scar and after that I had issues,” she told the news outlet. “It would heal, a scab would form, it would fall off and an open wound would be there until a new scab would form.”
Thorell, who has a family history of skin cancer, was referred to a specialist who diagnosed her with basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, typically caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning booths. Basal cell carcinoma can appear as open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, scars or even growths, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
For Thorell, who said she was diligent about sun exposure and never visited a tanning booth, the diagnosis led to Mohs surgery, which involves removing thin layers of cancer-containing skin until only cancer-free tissue remains, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It took three procedures before Thorell’s cancer was removed, and her doctor told her she may have had the cancer for years without knowing it.
“He did tell me it did start off as a chickenpox scar, and it’s possible I’ve had BCC for years,” she told Media Drum World.
Thorell, who is now cancer-free, is urging others to take notice of any change in their skin and to get it checked immediately.