Bree Towner, 28, from Edwardsville, Illinois, was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in 2015. She underwent a series of surgeries, including a drastic operation which shaved off the end of her nose. Towner was left with scars, which she claims left her on the brink of suicide. The trainee teacher has since conquered cancer and was given the all-clear by doctors in March after going under the knife three times and given almost 100 stitches. She now has a brand new nose, expertly crafted using the flesh from her scalp.
Suspicious about her symptoms back in 2013, she alerted doctors after a strange spot appeared on her nose, which led to a scrape biopsy. Although tests for cancer initially came back negative, just seven months later the spot had ballooned in size. In January, she was handed the devastating news that she had infiltrative basal cell carcinoma.
“The most difficult aspect is the damage done to my self-esteem. I had dealt with minor bouts of self-esteem issues, depression, and anxiety before my diagnosis from just the stress of life.” Towner said. “But after surgery I was suicidal. I never attempted it, but the thoughts were there daily between February and July”
“Throughout the process, while being in public, I’ve seen many people staring out of either rudeness or curiosity, which was a major part of the mental health issues.”
Ms Towner was handed the all-clear after the operation and she went under the knife again on April 9 to remove her overlying nose, dubbed her ‘arch’.
She still faces the threat that her ‘nose flap’ will be reject her new nose as she undergoes further surgery to reduce the size of her nose as well as adjustments to placement of her eyebrows.