EDWARDSVILLE, Kan. -- An Edwardsville man contacted FOX 4, wanting to literally save face for others. David Collins wants you to see what can happen when you have a little sore on your nose, and you wait to get it checked out.
"It didn't bother me, so it was kinda -- it was on the back burner," said Collins.
The 41-year-old had the spot for two years until his mother told him he must see a dermatologist. Dr. Meena Singh immediately knew it was skin cancer. But even Dr. Singh was surprised as she found cancer in layer after layer that she removed.
"It did go deeper than I initially expected," said the specialist with Kansas Medical Clinic in Shawnee.
The result was a "crater," as Collins calls it, that was as deep as a couple of stacked coins.
To cover the defect and get the best long-term result, Collins needed a forehead flap. He had the first surgery two weeks ago. A strip of skin and vessel from the forehead was moved down to the nose. It remains there for a few weeks to establish the blood supply for the new skin over the hole.
Next week, Collins will have surgery to divide the connection between the forehead and nose, contour the new nose skin and stitch the nose and forehead back together.
"I'd hate for anybody else to really go through any of this," said Collins.
That's why he put embarrassment aside. He wants you to protect yourself from the sun and skin cancer. He had many sunburns growing up and while serving in the Army in the Middle East.
Collins and Dr. Singh want you to get your skin checked regularly.
"And then, of course, if you notice anything changing, bleeding, itching or new, definitely get it checked out," said Dr. Singh.
Collins wishes he'd had the spot taken care of two years ago when it appeared.
"It wouldn't have been -- it'd been simple," he said.
It's as plain as the nose on his face. This wasn't simple.
The cancer was basal cell, the most common form of skin cancer.