A New Malden mum who had to have part of her scalp removed is urging others not to take skin cancer lightly.

Two years ago, Nickie Murtagh visited a GP when she discovered a small lump on her head.

"I was told that all was well and that I has a cyst that could remain untreated," she said.

"The lump carried on growing and got quite big.

"I wasn't entirely happy with it so again visited the GP to once more be told that it were just a cyst and nothing needed doing with it.

"It was 'purely cosmetic' and that if I wanted it removing I would have to pay to have it removed privately."

But this didn't feel right to her. She arranged a referral to a dermatologist

A few weeks later her fears were confirmed.

The dermatologist took one look at my 'cyst' and instantly knew it wasn't," she said.

"The biopsy results came back within a few weeks and I had tested positive for skin cancer - a basal cell carcinoma.

Then on December 20, seven months after her diagnosis, she underwent surgery.

I was booked in for surgery on December 20th 2018.

"It was tough," Mrs Murtagh added.

"They removed a large area of my scalp, which was too large to close so.

"I had a skin graft taken from my thigh to repair the open hole in my head."

But she is looking to make sure that the rest of the world doesn't have to go through what she had to.

"I have spent years protecting my children - making them wear a hat and ensuring they are covered top to toe in sun cream," she said.

"My ignorance to the sun, and perhaps my vanity have left me with a hole in my head and scarring to my leg.

"I am hoping to push the importance of protecting ourselves and not just our children.

"If you have lumps and bumps get them checked , and if you are not happy get it checked again, you can never be too cautious."

On top of all of this, she will be running in the London Marathon to raise money for the World Cancer Research Fund.

To view her JustGiving page, click here.