Hitchin hairdresser saves customer's life after spotting 'black mark' during appointment

PUBLISHED: 14:39 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:39 04 November 2019

66-year-old Teresa Richards had a melanoma on her crown discovered by her hairdresser. Picture: Teresa Richards

66-year-old Teresa Richards had a melanoma on her crown discovered by her hairdresser. Picture: Teresa Richards

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A 66-year-old woman has thanked the Hitchin hairdresser who saved her life after she spotted a potentially fatal melanoma during a routine appointment.

Teresa Richards - from Meppershall - is a regular at Farley's Barber Shop & Hair Salon in Hitchin's Hermitage Road, and was first alerted to a black mark on her scalp during an appointment with her hairdresser Nikki at the beginning of October.

"Nikki was a bit concerned after seeing this small black spot appear on my crown," Teresa said. "She first spotted it a few weeks back, and noticed it wasn't going away, so recommended I get it checked out.

"She showed it to me in the mirror. It was about a quarter of an inch in diameter. Of course, I didn't know exactly what it was - but I was so shocked."

Thanks to eagle-eyed Nikki, Teresa quickly went under the knife and had the cancerous melanoma removed within a couple of weeks.

"In the end, it all happened so quickly. Within two weeks of Nikki mentioning it to me, I went to a GP who referred me on to a consultant, and I had it removed later that week.

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"It's scary because I had no symptoms whatsovever. No bumps or mumps, or itching. If it hadn't been for Nikki spotting it, I don't know what would have happened. It is important that people realise how melanomas can go undetected for so long.

"I feel very lucky, and so incredibly grateful to Nikki - I'll never go anywhere else to have my haircut now.

"It's amazing to have someone who just goes that extra mile. I think a lot of hairdresser's wouldn't have said anything, or might think it's inappropriate. But it just goes to show - a hairdresser really can save a life."

Farley's owner Felix Camfield-Walker, said: "It's wonderful thing to happen, potentially saving someone's life. It's something all our hairdressers are aware of, looking out for the signs.

"We love Teresa at Farley's, she is great, so it was amazing that we could help her out in this way.

"A hairdresser's is a community hub. It can be one of the few times our customers get to see someone regularly. It's amazing that we can have these relationships at Farley's."

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer with around 15,900 new cases diagnosed every year in the UK - and roughly 2,300 Britons dying from the disease.

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