Long Melford: Nurse spots Coronation Street star’s deadly cancer - while watching soap
THE actions of an eagle-eyed dermatology nurse have potentially saved the life of one of Britain’s best-loved soap stars, it has emerged.
In the summer of 2010, Anna Bianconi-Moore, 55, who lives in Long Melford, was watching an episode of Coronation Street in an attempt to relax after a long shift at Addenbrooke’s dermatology clinic, where she was working.
But during a scene where Sue Nicholls – who plays Audrey Roberts in the show – was wearing a sleeveless nightdress, Anna noticed a “suspicious-looking” mole on the actress’s shoulder. This turned out to be the most deadly form of skin cancer – a malignant melanoma.
Recalling the moment when she spotted the mole, Anna said: “When you’ve just come away from a day at a dermatology department, it takes a while to switch off from your job, and I couldn’t help noticing that Audrey had this pigmented lesion on her upper arm.
“When I paused and got closer to the TV, I knew it didn’t look right because it had four different shades and it was irregular in shape. I looked again after a couple of hours and decided it was definitely suspicious, and as a nurse and an individual with conscience, I felt I had to do something about it.”
So she searched out an email address for the ITV drama and sent a note with suggestions as to what the lesion could be, including malignant melanoma.
She said: “When I sent it, I didn’t want it to look like a hoax so I put my name and professional qualifications and asked them to confirm that they had done something about it. It was worded so that if a medical professional looked at it, they would take it seriously - I said Sue should seek appropriate specialist intervention.”
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In the end, 10 months passed before Sue had the growth removed and the diagnosis of malignant melanoma was confirmed. Anna heard nothing more until Sue put out an appeal last November to track down the viewer who had potentially saved her life. The two finally met on the Coronation Street set at the end of May.
Anna enthused: “Sue had lots of questions and said she was immensely grateful because if I hadn’t drawn her attention to the mole, she would have never done anything about it because she thought it had always been there and therefore couldn’t be harmful. She said it was caught early and the outcome is good, so it all looks hopeful. I am so glad now that I sent that email.”
This week, Anna received a bouquet of flowers from Sue as a further token of her gratitude.