Man pays thanks to Northampton life-saving hairdresser after she spotted cancerous mole

A Northampton hairdresser who spotted a lumpy mole on her first-time client's face has been praised for speaking up after it turned out to be a stage 3 melanoma.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 1:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:12 pm
Erinna and Adam pictured at Jazz Hairdressing after she gave advice about his mole, which saved his life. Credit: Kirsty Edmonds.

On October 3 last year, driving instructor Adam Shatford of Parklands popped into Jazz Hairdressing to have an impromptu haircut after a student cancelled a lesson.

He did not have his usual hairdresser that day and instead stylist Erinna Lindfield filled in and met Adam for the first time.

After she started cutting his hair she noticed a dark patch of skin near his left ear, which she told him to get checked at the doctors straight away.

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Erinna and Adam pictured at Jazz Hairdressing after she gave advice about his mole, which saved his life. Credit: Kirsty Edmonds.

Adam called the doctors after leaving the Spinney Hill salon and was seen within two hours.

Just nine days after his appointment with his GP he was diagnosed with likely melanoma and underwent surgery on October 23 to remove the mole near his ear and a stage one melanoma on his forehead.

Both moles were confirmed as cancerous in the beginning of November and he was advised to undergo further surgery to remove lymph nodes at Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

Last week he was told the cancerous cells had not spread and medics had given him the all clear.

Erinna has now given her staff tips and encouragement to speak up if they detect something isn't quite right with their clients' health. Picture: Kirsty Edmonds.

Adam said: "Erinna had never cut my hair before, another stylist did it. She said: 'has anyone ever checked that mole out? it costs nothing’.

"I left here and I phoned the doctor and within two hours a doctor had asked me to come in.

"If Erinna had never said 'you need to get it checked', I would never had phoned."

Adam, who has been a driving instructor for over 30 years and has taught more than 2,000 students, was told by doctors the melanomas were caused by sun damage.

Adam's stage 3 melanoma was removed on October 23, and was confirmed as cancerous two weeks later. Now he has been given the all clear.

He believes the cancer had grown over the years as a result of sitting in direct sunlight in the car.

"It was definitely from the sun - it affects people's pigments differently,” he said.

"If one person goes to get checked then [this story] is worthwhile."

Adam had been keeping an eye on the size and colour of his mole but the texture had become different and lumpy.

This picture shows Adam's stage 1 melanoma scar which was picked up at the same time as his stage 3 mole.

"I have been told the reason it's so dangerous is because you are not ill until it's progressed," he said.

"I'm very lucky. I could have easily nodded my head at Erinna but I thought I will phone and both surgeons and doctors paid tribute to Erinna.

"I felt 100 per cent fine until they operated. I usually ran four to five miles a day."

Stylist Erinna, who also cares for her daughter, has an interest in medicine and happened to know a little about moles.

She said: "The message I want to get across is: people should speak up, not just barbers, but any profession that works closely with people in general.

"I felt I had to advise him to see his doctor - I knew it was important and thankfully he did.

"I'm also the manageress at Jazz, so I can encourage all the staff to speak up a bit more and hopefully this article will influence more salons.

"Adam came in last week and said he had the all clear and I was so pleased. I'm over the moon.”