A young woman owes her life to her tight-fitting jodhpurs – after they started rubbing on a cancerous mole.
Horse-mad Lucy Guiry was concerned about a mole that had changed shape and grown into the shape of a Coco Pop on the inside of her left thigh.
But it was when horse riding became uncomfortable that she demanded doctors remove the growth.
Despite doctors being unconcerned about the blot it turned out she had skin cancer – and further investigations showed it had spread to her lymph nodes.
The 23-year-old said: “I am quite moley so I’m aware of keep an eye out for any changes. When one started growing I went to the doctors to get it checked out.
“I went back a few times because it was growing but I was told that it was fine. Nobody picked up on it at all.
“The only reason I persevered in the end was because it was irritating me. The mole was located on the seem of the inside of my jodhpurs and it would rub as I rode, it became sore.
“The doctor agreed I should have the mole removed, but for cosmetic reasons.”
Lucy, from Queensbury, Bradford, West Yorks., graduated from university with a degree in equine sport science and soon landed her dream job as a polo yard manager at the White Rose Polo Club in Market Weighton in September 2014.
She said: “My life changed from being on a horse once a day to riding about three times a day.
“The mole changed from being horrible to look at to actually affecting my daily life as it was being pressed all the time.
“I am so thankful to the jodhpurs and my work and the horses, without them I don’t know if the cancer would have been found. It might have been too late.
“It’s due to the fact that I wear tight trousers on a daily basis that I took action.”
When the mole was removed in January 2014 it was found to be malignant. Further investigations showed it had spread to her lymph nodes – which were removed in another operation.
Lucy said: “At one point I thought I might not be able to ride again because the operations left quite a scar – the size of my hand. I was told a skin graft would not withstand horseriding.
“The solution was to, instead, stretch my skin over the scar, and this way it would heal better. I am grateful for that.
“I have been horse riding since I was five years old and it is my life.”
Four operations and a drugs trial later Lucy is now back to full health and is back at work and riding horses.
She is taking part in a fast-track polo training course so she can compete in a polo match at white Rose Polo Ladies Day in York on August 2, raising money for MacMillan Cancer Care.
She said: “You never think cancer will happen to you. I was just so shocked.
“I didn’t know a lot about cancer at that time. I was still of the belief that if you got cancer, you were going to die so it was very emotional.”
Ms Guiry, who lives in North Cliffe near Market Weighton, has now been left with scars but feels lucky to have found the cancer.
She said: “While some people get cancer from sunburn, I’d never been sunburned and they think the type of cancer I had was genetic.
“I was given trial medication to stop it coming back. I will now go for check-ups every three months now to make sure it doesn’t come back.”
Lucy said: “Macmillan have supported me emotionally and physically, helping me every step of the way. I don’t think I could have done it without them.”