How a Hair Stylist Detected Stage 4 Breast Cancer from Her Client's Scalp
This shows the importance of checking your entire body for oddities that could signal bigger health problems.
Patty Bolle got much more than a haircut when she went to see her usual stylist.
The woman from Haslett, Michigan was sitting in the stylist's chair when her hairdresser, Nikki McClure, noticed something odd.
"Nikki was pulling my hair up, and she said, 'Oh my god, you have a bald spot there!' and I said, 'I do?' So she showed me in the mirror, and I said I had no idea," Bolle recalled to WILX.
"It was just about bigger than a dime size, and it looked like it had been burned. It was kind of red and splotchy and so I asked her if she burned it and she said no and I kind of poked it a little bit and asked if it was sensitive and she said no," McClure, of Blush Salon, added. (Related: Breast Cancer Changed My Entire Body Forever-But I'm Finally OK with It)
Bolle, who was in remission from breast cancer after finding a lump and undergoing treatment 13 years earlier, went to her doctor, and a biopsy revealed that the cancer had returned, and spread through her body.
"I was devastated. And in shock, because I had already battled it 13 years ago and won," she said.
This time, the breast cancer was stage 4 and metastatic, which means it will always come back and regenerate in different forms. Bolle is taking an oral drug that targets the cancer cells and feels good.
"I'm not home free. Metastatic breast cancer is relentless and it'll eventually come back, but at this point, with the new drugs that are out there it might be years," she said. (Related: 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk)
And McClure pointed out that Bolle's story shows the importance of checking your entire body for any oddities that could signal bigger health problems.
"A stylist is a person who looks at your scalp more than your doctor would," she said. "You wouldn't go to a physical and they wouldn't pick through your hair and see if anything is out of the ordinary. They tell you to look for freckles and moles on your body but nobody looks at your scalp."
This story originally appeared on People.com by Julie Mazziotta.