'I thought it was just a weird pimple': Young woman, 29, finds a tiny red spot on her forehead which turned out to be cancer

April 20, 2020

A 29-year-old woman is urging all Australians to undergo routine skin checks after a tiny red spot above her eyebrow turned out to be a form of skin cancer.

Marlene Millott, from Melbourne, had noticed a small blemish on her face a few months back, but never thought anything of it.

The young woman, who works at a research centre at Monash University, quickly dismissed the spot as a 'weird pimple' and covered it up with makeup.

'It was just a red spot, I didn't really think anything of it. It had been there for a few months and I was easily able to cover it up,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Millott would only learn the tiny 'pimple' was actually basal cell carcinoma during a visit to a local clinic, which she saw a recommendation for on Facebook.

With skin cancer running in her family, Ms Millott said she always intended to get checked as a precautionary measure, but had been putting it off for months, and wasn't worried about her 'pimple'.

'You just assume it's something that affects people who are a little bit older,' she said.

'But once I started seeing commentary online, especially one girl who posted about the clinic around the corner from me, it was like a bit of a push.

'I didn't really suspect that I had anything, it was just something I thought I should get into the habit of doing.'

Ms Millott visited Molescreen Skin Cancer Clinic in Camberwell on March 17, and was immediately asked about the tiny spot.

'I walked into the doctor's office and one of the first things she said to me was, "what's the spot above your eyebrow?"

'I'm sure so many people assume moles are the ones you're supposed to be scared of, I just hadn't really thought anything about this little red spot, but she was concerned straightaway.'

Ms Millott was scheduled for a biopsy on March 19 and by March 24, she would receive alarming news she had basal cell carcinoma.

The cancer is the most common form of skin cancer, and unlike melanoma, it grows very slowly.

Ms Millott was told the cancer could have potentially spread to other areas and cause death if gone undetected, however, death from basal cell carcinoma is rare.

'Because I had a family history I always thought it'd happen to me at some point but I just never realized it would be when I was so young,' Ms Millott said.

'I was quite upset and scared by it but I had already prepared myself for it, so it wasn't a huge shock.'

Ms Millott said the bigger shock was the actual removal process, which required doctors to slice off a 9mm by 3mm piece of skin from her face in a procedure for which she was conscious.

The area was then sewn up with seven stitches.

'I was really upset and scared because I thought it was going to be a small thing but it was a bit more dramatic than I expected, that part was quite traumatic,' she said.

'I was so worried that I would end up looking like Scar from the Lion King or something.'

Ms Millott, who has since removed her stitches and has been declared cancer free, said the experience has taught her to be more protective of her skin.

'I've always been quite good trying to look after my skin. I always wear sunscreen when I go to the beach or if I've been out for too long, but obviously I'm not perfect and sometimes forget to reapply.

'I think the position on my face as well, above my eyebrow, you might miss it if you're putting on sunscreen because it's sort of in the hair a little bit.

'The other issue is I would wear makeup most days and that would make me a bit lazy about wearing sunscreen as well.

'But since I've had this happen, I've just been making sure I wear it everyday.'

Ms Millott is now encouraging Australians to learn from her ordeal and to get routine checks even if they do not think they're vulnerable.

'I had booked a random appointment thinking it would be fine, and didn't realise that I would come out with quite a serious result,' she said.

'People should check about clinics in their area, but the one I went to is still open and taking appropriate safety measures for COVID-19.

'So if people are concerned about a spot, they should go get checked now and not wait until things are back to normal.'



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