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Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath saved after hairdresser spots melanoma on her scalp

How a haircut may have saved the life of a senior politician after her hairdresser spotted a dark blemish on her scalp

  • Hairdresser potentially saves the life of minister after discovering melanoma
  • Tahnee Hudson spotted the dark blemish on Qld health minister’s scalp 
  • Yvette D’Ath underwent surgery to remove the melanoma on Wednesday
  • Ms D’Ath said she’s had 12 benign skin cancers removed, urged others to check

Queensland‘s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has undergone surgery to remove a melanoma on her scalp after her hairdresser noticed a blemish on her scalp while cutting the minister’s hair.

Ms D’Ath was getting her hair done on her birthday when Tahnee Hudson, owner of The Mandala Room hair salon, found the lump on her scalp. 

She said the hairdresser had saved her life when she alerted her to the spot and asked if her skin had been checked recently.

Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath (pictured) has undergone surgery to remove a melanoma on her scalp and has her hairdresser Tahnee Hudson to thank, after Ms Hudson recently discovered the cancer while cutting the politician’s hair

‘I said I did, but she asked me to pass her my phone so she could take a photo of something, and then she showed it to me,’ Ms D’Ath told The Courier-Mail

‘I’ve told Tahnee that hairdressers are our new frontline health workers saving lives.’ 

Ms D’Ath said if she hadn’t spoken up she could be facing a very different situation today. 

The minister had the melanoma removed at Brisbane Hospital on Wednesday. 

Ms D'Ath was getting her hair done on her birthday when Tahnee Hudson, owner of The Mandala Room hair salon, found the lump on her scalp and took a photo of it (pictured)

The minister had the melanoma removed at Brisbane Hospital on Wednesday (pictured)

Ms D’Ath was getting her hair done on her birthday when Tahnee Hudson, owner of The Mandala Room hair salon, found the lump on her scalp and took a photo of it (left). The minister had the melanoma removed at Brisbane Hospital on Wednesday (right)

When consulting doctors over the lump she was told the melanoma was ‘in situ’ which means it was discovered at the earliest possible stage.

Ms D’Ath said she knew when she saw the spot it wasn’t good as she is well educated on what to look for.

‘I knew what a bad skin spot looks like, it was abnormal at the edges, it had dark spots, so I rang the skin doctor the next day and got in the following week for a biopsy, and the results confirmed what I thought when I saw it,’ Ms D’Ath said.

This wasn’t the first time the ‘hero’ hairdresser had found a melanoma on a client’s scalp but it was far from a regular occurrence. 

Ms Hudson said in her 20 years as a hairdresser she had found two others but that it was often hard to see them as the abnormality is often completely or partially covered by hair.

Tahnee Hudson (right) spotted the blemish on the Minister's scalp while sectioning her hair ready to put foils in and asked Ms D'Ath when was the last time she had her skin checked, before taking a picture of the growth to show her

Tahnee Hudson (right) spotted the blemish on the Minister’s scalp while sectioning her hair ready to put foils in and asked Ms D’Ath when was the last time she had her skin checked, before taking a picture of the growth to show her

However, with Ms D’Ath it was different as she was sectioning her hair ready to put foils in and saw it straight away. 

As soon as she saw it Ms Hudson said she knew it wasn’t benign as its edges were uneven  – but didn’t want to panic the politician.

As health minister, Ms D’Ath said she wanted to share her story to remind the public about the importance of sun safety and regular skin checks.

‘We live in the skin cancer capital of the world, our UV rating is among the highest in the world, and like a lot of other Queenslanders I grew up going to the beach putting sunscreen on in the morning and then spending all day at the beach without reapplying and getting burnt,’ she said.

Ms D’Ath had her first spot treated more than a decade ago and since that time has had 12 benign skin cancers removed. 

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