Beauty therapist saves four clients' lives after spotting cancerous moles
Beauty therapist Erika Hodgkiss is being hailed a hero after spotting cancerous moles on four of her clients.
The owner of Erika’s Skin Clinic in Crockenhill, Kent, spotted the melanomas – an aggressive form of skin cancer that kills six people a day in Britain – on clients during beauty treatments and advised them to see their GPs.
In all four cases, the client had a melanoma and had to have it surgically removed.
Hodgkiss was able to spot the dangerous moles because of her training with Masced – a skin cancer charity that has developed a programme for beauty therapists to learn “skin surveillance” techniques that could help them work out when they may need to advise clients to seek medical attention.
Since her training, Hodgkiss has helped saved four lives, showing how the beauty industry can help increase survival rates.
“I can’t believe how many people I’ve seen with something unusual on their skin in just a few months. Sometimes they have no idea because the mark is on their back, but most of the time they are aware it is there but say, ‘Oh that’s nothing, it’s just a mole’,” Hodgkiss told The Daily Mail.
“I tell them I’ve been on the Skcin course and encourage them to get anything suspicious checked by a doctor. Luckily the women who were diagnosed with melanoma have come out the other side, but it’s scary to think it would have spread if I hadn’t spotted it.”
One of the clients, Jayne Hobbs, commented: “If I hadn’t had that facial, if Erika hadn’t seen the mole, if she hadn’t been on the course, I don’t know what would have happened. I’m so lucky all those things came together in time.”
The mother-of-three had originally noticed the mole was darker than normal when she was on holiday in August last year, but had dismissed it thinking it was caused by sun exposure. It was only when Hodgkiss warned her about it and said it could be dangerous, she became concerned.
“There’s quite a big scar there now, but I’m alive so that’s all that counts. I can’t believe my own naivety that I had noticed the mole but thought it was fine,” she added.
Britain has a higher melanoma mortality rate than the European average, which experts blame on late diagnosis.