A DISTRAUGHT Sheffield family grieving after the loss of a brave young mum to skin cancer have warned people to check every suspect lump or mole.
Kirsty Winterbottom never went on a sunbed in her life - but died after a tiny lump on her head turned out to be malignant.
Her devastated husband David told The Star: “I hope this might help to save someone else’s life.
“Never leave a mole or a lump - always get it checked out.”
The 38-year-old added: “Even something that looks innocent can turn out to be really damaging.
“Kirsty never went on a sunbed in her life - and yet she died of skin cancer.”
Mum-of-three Kirsty, from Sothall, Sheffield, was only 25 when she discovered a tiny lump on the top of her head.
Doctors told her it was an innocent cyst. Three months later she had it removed at her GP’s surgery because it kept catching when she was brushing her hair.
But when the lump was sent off for testing, the dreadful news came back that it was a malignant melanoma.
The next year, despite having part of her scalp rotated, another lump reappeared in the same place.
That lump was also removed, but by then the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in her neck. She had a full neck dissection, removing 65 lymph nodes, which seemed to halt the spread.
Kirsty was clear of cancer for two years, but in June 2010 she found another lump in the back of her neck.
A scan revealed she had cancer in her lungs, liver and abdominal wall.
Doctors tried chemotherapy but it didn’t stop the aggressive disease spreading to her pelvis and spine.
Kirsty’s mum Barbara Skeggs, 62, said: “It seems so unfair that something so small can cause such damage, so unfair.”
Kirsty was one of the first patients in the UK to try experimental new cancer drug Ipilimumab, which prompts the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.
David said: “The doctors tried everything for her. There wasn’t a doctor or nurse at Weston Park Hospital or Charles Clifford Hospital who didn’t know about Kirsty.
“Her courage and bravery touched the hearts of them all.
“Dr Sarah Danson at Weston Park managed to get the new drug for her, which wasn’t even on the NHS at the time.
“She was so determined to help her beat it.
“We are very grateful to all of the doctors who helped her, they were all fantastic.”