When Jillian Murray went for a facial, she expected to leave feeling relaxed and pampered.
But the mom left in a panic — and thanks her beautician for saving her life.
Leigh Murphy, 41, noticed that Jillian, 62, had suspicious marks on her chest while treating her client in October 2021.
Jillian had noticed the blemish herself in June, but says she was relieved when a doctor told her it was nothing to worry about.
However, Leigh warned her client of six years that she should get a second opinion.
Jillian, from Cairns, Australia, said: “It looked like a red bruise. As soon as she saw it, she said I need to get it looked at as soon as possible.
“Prior to that, about six months before, I saw another doctor and they told me to put a cream on it and said nothing to worry about, it’s fine.”
The mom-of-one, who owns a childcare center with husband Paul, 58, immediately made an appointment with a skin specialist.
After doctors took a biopsy, which tests for cancerous cells, Jillian was stunned to be given a devastating diagnosis.
Jillian had stage two melanoma above her right breast and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) on her nose.
While BCCs are typically slow-growing and almost never spread to other parts of the body, melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Both forms are almost always the result of sun exposure, and Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer globally.
Melanoma can present as a asymmetrial mole, have a ragged border, mixture of colours and is usually larger than a quarter of an inch.
Meanwhile, a BCC usually looks like a slightly transparent, shiny pink or pearly-white bump on the skin, and it may become crusty or bleed.
Jillian said: “I went to a skin cancer doctor and he didn’t hesitate to take a biopsy.
“I found out it was cancerous four days later and they didn’t muck around.
“I had two major operations in less than three weeks.
“When I found out it was cancerous, I was a mess, shaking, I couldn’t comprehend, I thought my life was over, thought it would be in the blood system.
“I didn’t know the extent of how horrific it was. It was really bad. If it gets in your bloodstream, it’s bad.”
Jillian had an operation in November but had to go under the knife again in December to prevent the cancer spreading into her lymph nodes.
Doctors had to go 1.5 inches deep to remove the cancer.
Jillian said: “I was in overnight for the first one but they didn’t get all the melanoma so we had to wait two weeks then they had to go in deeper.
“I was in ridiculous pain. I was cut very, very deep and I still don’t have feeling in my right breast or chest.
“I was just outside of the margin [of the cancer spreading] so they didn’t have to take my lymph nodes out and I have to be checked out every three months.”
Jillian says she “looked disgusting” after her ops.
“But I’m healing now and my doctor can’t believe how well I’m healing because I’m using vitamin B,” she said.
“My face is good but make up covers it, my chest is pretty bad. I’m still scarred and I will be forever.”
Jillian praises Leigh for saving her life and the pair have formed a friendship as the beautician has supported her throughout her recovery.
She said: “It’s amazing for a beautician to find it when a doctor missed it first. She’s worth her weight in gold. She’s bloody ace.
“I’m a very lucky lady. Without her expertise I wouldn’t be here and my doctor said I won the lotto with her.
“When I tell her she’s saved my life, she gets goosebumps, she’s overwhelmed and she’s so pleased that her training has taught her what to do.
“I’ve been seeing Leigh for a few years. She went over me like a fine-tooth comb.
“I brag about her and tell people to go and see her because she does her job and she’s very caring. She’s very professional. I’ve probably sent a good few people to her.
“My family are so grateful for Leigh.”
Leigh, who is helping to improve Jillian’s scarring, said: “I’m so happy I was able to help my friend as the oncologist advised that if it was left any longer it would’ve gone into her lymph nodes.
“I use an Asap SkinCare in my salon and a Super B serum that has been amazing on Jillian’s scars.
“In April, I will start to do some radio frequency micro-needling treatments.”
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.
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