Leicester mum left with giant 'crater' in leg after doctors dismissed cancer

A woman and two friends
-Credit: (Image: Kennedy News & Media)


A woman has been left with a large 'crater' in her leg after she alleges that doctors dismissed her cancer as 'flaky skin' for ten years - but it was her deceased grandmother who knew better and 'saved her life'. Megan Grieves says that she attended over 30 GP appointments during a decade, following concerns raised by her late grandmother, June Evans, 69, about a small mole on her left leg.

Megan, now 36, says that at each check-up, her growing mole was dismissed as dry skin and she was prescribed moisturising creams to treat the flaky patch on her shin. Despite the mole expanding to the size of a 10 pence piece over the decade, the teaching assistant claims she continued to be given other ointments to treat a 'psoriasis' flare-up.

It was only when June insisted on a diagnosis and Megan saw a different GP, that she was referred to a dermatologist and diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer at the age of 28 in September 2016. Megan then underwent two surgeries to remove the mole and check if the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

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Disturbing images reveal an open wound the size of a cricket ball, where the mole and surrounding skin were excised from her leg to remove the cancer. After undergoing a skin graft to cover the incision, the mother of two now has a permanent 'crater' in her leg which she says attracts stares from children

A crater in a woman's leg
-Credit:Kennedy News & Media

Megan, from Leicester, has become an advocate for skin cancer awareness after her own ordeal with a misdiagnosed mole that turned out to be cancerous. Despite being given the all-clear in 2017, she takes to Facebook annually, encouraging others to get any new or changing moles examined by a professional, reports Hull Live.

She also pays tribute to her late grandmother, who passed away in 2020, for persistently urging her to seek medical advice about her concerning mole.

Reflecting on her experience, Megan shared: "I'd had a mole on my leg for as long as I can remember. When I got to 15 years old my grandma said she didn't like the look of it and told me to go to the doctor."

She continued, detailing her numerous visits to the GP: "My mole would flake and bits would peel off. I think over a 10-year period I went to see the GP about this mole around 30 times. I kept going back to the doctors and every time I would go to the GP they just told me it was dry skin or psoriasis and gave me E45 cream to try and prescribed me lots of different things."

Megan described the changes in her mole: "As time went on my mole got more scabby and flaky and would bleed sometimes. It started off the size of a large freckle and went to the size of a 10-pence piece."

She recounted the pivotal visit to her GP that led to her diagnosis: "My grandma urged me to go back to the doctor one more time as she was convinced something was wrong. I went back to my GP and that day there was a new doctor. He looked at my mole and didn't like the look of it so did an urgent referral for me to the dermatology department.

"At the appointment, they took a slice out of the middle of it [the mole], stitched it up and sent me on my way. I then went back to get my results at the hospital. They asked me if I had come on my own and I knew then that something was wrong.

"My heart just sank but I also was still very naive at this point and didn't understand what could be so wrong about a mole. Then they told me it was melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. The diagnosis impacted our lives massively. The recovery was really long and I was off my feet for a very long time."

According to the NHS, melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body, with the main cause being exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight or sunbeds. Following her initial surgery in October 2016, Megan had to endure an open wound in her leg for 10 weeks as she awaited further surgery to ensure the cancer hadn't spread.

After undergoing a second operation in January 2017, Megan claims she has been diagnosed with lymphedema and fibromyalgia, conditions causing daily swelling and chronic pain, which she attributes to the melanoma. Reflecting on her journey, Megan shared: "My grandma has passed away now but she kept me going. If it wasn't for her, I may have never got my mole checked out. She saved my life.

"They said they wouldn't know how serious it was until I had the surgery. They cut away a circle out of my leg and then I was left with an open wound.

"They dissected some of the lymph nodes in the left side of the groin and did a biopsy on these (in the second surgery). Fortunately I was told the melanoma hadn't spread and I was really lucky. I had a skin graft put over it now so it's healed, but I have got a huge crater in my leg and it almost goes down to my bone. If I knock it, it is excruciating.

"They also made me a prosthetic to fit into my leg because the hole was so big so when I wore tights, I could hide it but it was really uncomfortable and I tried to embrace the hole. But I now don't have my legs out because of it as I am conscious of it and I notice kids looking at it.

"They told me one in 5,000 people would get lymphedema afterwards and then I got diagnosed with this in the same leg. I can't even go to a theme park with my kids because standing in a line for a long time causes my leg to swell. The lymphedema will be with me for the rest of my life."

After sharing her diagnosis on Facebook during Melanoma Awareness Month, Megan has been encouraging others to persist with GP appointments if they feel something isn't right.

Megan stated: "The GP told me it was psoriasis for 10 years and patches of dry skin. This is what I say to people, 'don't take no for an answer and go back to your GP again'. I've always covered up and never been on a sunbed so it shows it can happen to anyone, but by not wearing suncream and sunbeds it heightens your risk. No tan is worth what I went through.

"What they tell you as a melanoma patient is that on the first day of every month you should check your skin in a mirror for new moles or changes."