Sunday sex saved woman's life when husband spotted something wrong

Woman smiles for a photo in her car
Melanie feared she had cancer after spotting a growth -Credit:Kennedy News and Media

A couple's Sunday morning sex may have saved a mum's life after her eagle-eyed husband spotted something sinister. Husband and wife Melanie and Philip Betteridge were having an intimate Sunday morning in January when they made a shocking discovery.

Philip, who lives in Kettering, Northamptonshire, raised a concerning issue he had spotted. The 58-year-old registered carer had noticed some discolouration in Melanie's vulva which the mum-of-two hadn't spotted herself.

After asking her husband to take a photo of the lesion, Melanie admits she 'burst into tears' - fearing something was seriously wrong. The 52-year-old made an appointment with her local GP who urgently referred her to Kettering General Hospital's gynaecology unit.

There, doctors told Melanie she may have vulva cancer and performed four biopsies to investigate their suspicions. Luckily, the biopsies came back as pre-cancer of the vulva - known as vulval intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) - which would have progressed further if left untreated.

Melanie and Philip smiling at the camera in their garden

Melanie, who underwent surgery to remove the lesions on Monday April 22, said she feels lucky to be alive - and grateful her observant husband spotted the abnormality during their bedroom activities. Melanie said: "We were being intimate on the Sunday morning and then afterwards he said 'babe I think there's something you need to look at'.

"He said 'I've noticed some discolouration on your skin'. It was on my labia then came down towards my thigh. I'd never noticed it. I hadn't looked down for years - well not that intimately. I was a bit worried. He's a very laid back guy and if he wasn't suspicious, he wouldn't have worried me.

"My natural response was 'can you take a photograph of it so I can see it'. He took the photo and I burst into tears because I knew something was wrong. I knew my own body and knew it wasn't good." After an examination by her GP, Melanie was referred to hospital for an urgent appointment where medics told her she may have cancer of the vulva.

Following multiple biopsies the lesion was luckily identified as pre-cancerous and slow progressing - but still required treatment. Melanie said: "My instant reaction was how am I going to tell my kids? And my second reaction was I'm going to die. I was massively relieved it was just pre-cancerous.

"I didn't have one symptom and I still don't have any symptoms. It can be discharge and itchiness which can often be misdiagnosed as a yeast infection but I didn't have any of it. They're hoping they're able to get it all during surgery so there's no further treatment. But there is a chance it could come back, we just have to be vigilant.

"Without finding it, it would've turned. All my cells are right on the edge of cancer and could quite easily have progressed in a year or two." The mum feels 'massively lucky' for her loving relationship which helped identify the suspicious growth - and ultimately save Melanie's life.

Melanie said: "At the end of the day, I am 52 and a lot of the couples at this age don't really bother anymore. We've been together 18 years and we're still massively in love. I'm just massively lucky we still have that kind of relationship because a lot of people our age don't. But it's a good reason to get intimate with your husband - I'm so happy we were intimate that day.

"I say to people if you don't have that kind of relationship, then use a mirror, use a camera, just make sure you check yourself, because if I'd have left this any longer, it could've spread to my lymph nodes and could've been so much worse. I would've never known. I had no symptoms whatsoever. I feel incredibly blessed and lucky we caught it so early. It's changed my outlook on life.

"I say to anyone now please go and get anything you're concerned checked out. It's an intimate area but it's only a minute or two of discomfort and awkwardness. Put your health first, the doctors see it everyday."