Pensioner, 89, was ‘given painkillers to treat a huge, black cancerous lump on the top of his head that doctors initially dismissed’
- George Hobbs had a fall in August 2018 and later saw a growth from the wound
- The grandfather visited his GP three times before being referred to specialists
- After the diagnosis, which may need surgery, Mr Hobbs said he is furious
An 89-year-old man has ended up with an egg-sized black tumour growing out the top of his head after falling over.
George Hobbs, from Gillingham in Kent, left the painful lump to grow for nine months and went to three doctors’ appointments before finally getting a diagnosis.
He claims medics originally told him to go home and take paracetamol before referring him to a dermatologist who said the lump needs surgical removal.
The cancer is believed to have developed from a cut Mr Hobbs got on his head after hitting it when he fell over in the bathroom.
Squamous cell carcinoma – a common form of skin cancer – can develop from skin damaged by swelling, infection or wounds, according to experts.
Mr Hobbs, who has already had bladder cancer, said he is ‘furious’ it took so long to get diagnosed and said he is nervous about having surgery to treat the disease.
George Hobbs, 89, of Gillingham, Kent, has a skin cancer lump sprouting from his scalp (pictured) and claims doctors initially sent him home with paracetamol
The grandfather-of-three said: ‘I’m furious that they didn’t take this seriously to start with. It’s really causing me a lot of discomfort.
‘The specialist at Medway [the clinic he visited] told me I should never have been told to take paracetamol for it.
‘They were amazed it had been allowed to get this bad and said I should have been sent to them immediately.’
Mr Hobbs slipped in his daughter’s bathroom last August on the day of his wife’s funeral and cut his head open.
After patching him up, doctors sent him home. A lump developed over time, which gradually became bigger in size.
Growing concerned after it became black, Mr Hobbs visited a doctor at The Railside Surgery three months ago.
He claims the doctor sent him home with painkillers and tried to deal with it as best he could, but the lump kept getting larger and more painful.
Mr Hobbs alleges the advice was repeated at two further visits until a different doctor sent him to see dermatologists at the Community Living Health Centre in Gillingham.
Then he was referred to Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, which arranged for him to see a specialist during a weekly visit to Medway Maritime Hospital.
The grandfather visited his GP three times before being referred to specialists After the diagnosis, which may need surgery, Mr Hobbs said he is furious
Mr Hobbs, who is now on the list to have urgent surgery, said a specialist was shocked at the delay in his referral. Pictured, the growth that developed over nine months
CAN A WOUND LEAD TO SKIN CANCER?
Dr Juber Hafiji, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said skin cancer can be caused by infection or chronic inflammation.
Squamous cell carcinomas can develop in skin damaged by other forms of radiation, in burns and persistent chronic ulcers and wounds and in old scars.
It can develop if skin cells are damaged in a way which affects their DNA.
If the DNA is damaged in a way that affects cells’ ability to reproduce properly this could cause the uncontrolled division which can lead to cancer.
SCCs is a type of cancer that appears as a scaly or crusty raised area of skin with a red, inflamed base. They can be sore or tender and they can bleed but this is not always the case.
People who have a weakened immune system have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
He said: ‘I saw a different doctor the second time and they took one look at it and told me it was too bad for them to deal with.
‘The next I knew I had a call from the plastic surgery department at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.’
Mr Hobbs said he was told last week by a specialist that he urgently needs to go under the knife.
He is already recovering from bladder cancer, and more surgery worries him.
He said: ‘They’re worried because it’s not clear how deep it goes.
‘They say if it’s grown upwards they should be able to remove it but if it’s grown downwards it’s more serious.
‘I really am very apprehensive and haven’t been able to sleep very well.
‘They say they should be able to see me at East Grinstead in the next week.’
Skin cancer is normally caused by sun damage, but in rare cases, such as Mr Hobbs, a tumour can appear after injury.
Dr Juber Hafiji, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said: ‘It is likely that the trauma that George unfortunately sustained with the head injury could have been the trigger for him developing skin cancer at this site.
‘Most people are aware of excessive ultraviolet exposure being a risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
‘There are other less commonly known risk factors including infection and chronic inflammation.’
It is also possible that Mr Hobbs has a weakened immune system, which also raises the risk of developing skin cancer, due to his current battle with bladder cancer.
The Railway Surgery is part of Medway Clinical Commissioning Group alongside 54 other GP practices from across the Medway Towns.
Director of primary care transformation at the CCG Tracy Rouse said: ‘We are sorry to hear of Mr Hobbs’ experience.
‘As the CCG does not hold any patient data, we would advise him to submit a complaint via email so we can fully investigate the matter.’
WHAT IS A SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA?
A squamous cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer. There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC).
The most important cause is too much exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or other sources. This can cause the DNA of skin cells (keratinocytes) in the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) to change.
Sometimes this alteration in DNA allows the skin cells to grow out of control and develop into an SCC.
Squamous cell carcinomas can also develop in skin damaged by other forms of radiation, in burns and persistent chronic ulcers and wounds and in old scars. Certain human viral wart viruses can also be a factor. However, SCC itself is not contagious.
The vast majority of SCCs are low risk skin cancers and can be cured. A small number can recur locally and/or spread to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body.
Surgery is usually the recommended treatment.
Radiotherapy can also be used to treat SCC. This involves shining a beam of X-rays onto the skin. Usually several sessions are required.
For advanced SCC, a combination of treatments may be used. For SCC that has spread to other parts of the body a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy may be used.
Reducing ultraviolet exposure will reduce the risk of getting an SCC.
Source: British Skin Foundation
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