Family members have paid tribute to a devoted mum and A&E receptionist from West Green, who has died of cancer.
Nicola Lovett, 26, died on June 8, just two months after she was diagnosed with melanoma - a rapidly increasing problem in the UK.
Family members said Nicola had died just seven hours before her 27th birthday.
“Nicola was a devoted mum to her daughter Evie who will be three years old this month,” they said in a statement.
“Nicola was a former Hazelwick School pupil, she worked at East Surrey Hospital as an A&E receptionist. She used to enjoy fishing with the family and trips to the cinema, listening to music and spending time with friends. More recently she enjoyed her time with Evie.
“Nicola began to feel unwell in March, then after tests was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in April. The cancer had spread to her liver and bones before diagnosis, unfortunately she didn’t feel very unwell until it had spread.
“There was no way of knowing what was about to happen because she hadn’t had any changing moles or marks on her skin. She was extremely unlucky because it appears that if she had a mark or mole on her skin it would have been destroyed by her own immune system.
“The first question she was asked was had she ever sunbathed or had sun beds, she hadn’t done either which made it harder to believe.”
Melanoma cases in the UK are on the increase - it is now the second most common cancer in people under 50. Exposure to ultra violet light, from the sun or from tanning beds, increases the risk. The rise in melanoma may be due to people spending more time in the sun, particularly when abroad, and not using high factor sun screen.
The risks can be reduced by using a sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and with good UVA protection, staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm, and covering up with T-shirt, hat and sun glasses.
“The devastation this has caused our family cannot be put into words,” said Nicola’s family. “We are sharing our story to hopefully make people more aware of this disease and take more notice of their skin, moles or any new marks.”
Nicola leaves behind her daughter Evie, Mum Sharon, Dad Dave, and brothers James and Ben.
Nicola’s funeral will be held on June 26 at Surrey & Sussex Crematorium, dress code pink, family flowers only. Donations to St Catherines Hospice via Bateman Funeral Services, Massetts Road, Horley, RH6 7PR. 01293 82526.
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