Tuesday 17 October 2017

'I thought it was cellulite - but it was cancer' - Singer owes life to eagle-eyed beautician

Opera singer Cara (left) and beautician Ciara. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Opera singer Cara (left) and beautician Ciara. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

OPERA star Cara O’Sullivan has revealed she owes her life to a beautician who realised that what the singer suspected was only leg cellulite was most likely a cancerous growth.

The singer has now appealed to people to take heed of comments from experienced non-medical people about issues concerning their personal health.

“If someone notices something about your health whether it is a beautician, a fitness instructor or even a hair-dresser, listen carefully to what they say and then go and get an expert medical opinion,” Cara said.

Skilled Cork beautician Ciara Wilson immediately became suspicious of an unusual patch of skin on Cara’s leg during a waxing session in advance of her performing in ‘Don Giovanni’.

She urged the opera star to immediately seek medical advice.

“I do owe my life to Ciara, bless her cotton socks,” Cara said.

“I thought it was just a bit of cellulite on my leg. But during the waxing session, Ciara noticed it.”

“She said to me: ‘I know cellulite, Cara, and that is not cellulite’.

She told me I needed to go to a doctor to get it checked out.”

“I’ve known Ciara all my life. She is a hugely talented beautician so I thought it best to take her advice and I went to a doctor.”

A Cork surgeon decided to undertake a precautionary check on what was presumed to be simply a fatty growth on her leg.

“But it turned out to be a Stage II cancerous tumour which had wrapped itself around the muscle in my upper thigh,” Cara said.

“Stage IV tumours are life-threatening so you can imagine how shocked I was.”

Cara underwent immediate surgery to remove the entire tumour.

That was followed by radiotherapy in both Ireland and in Cardiff where she was performing with the Welsh National Opera.

“Thankfully, the treatment was a great success and I got the all-clear in every check-up after that. It’s been a few years now, thank God.”

“But they still don’t know what caused the cancer. The suspicion is that it might be linked to a bicycle accident I had when I was 13 years old.”

Cara – who is performing eagerly awaited concerts in Dublin’s National Concert Hall on January 26 as well as Limerick and Cork on February 4 and 12 – said people need to listen to non-medical people who notice changes in your body, skin or health.

Ciara is now the incoming President of Network Cork and remains a great friend of the opera star.

“I knew Ciara when she was very young and once, when I was about to perform on RTE, I brought her with me so she could see how the TV beauticians apply make-up. I knew at the time she wanted to work as a beautician.”

“Little did I think that, years after that simple act of kindness, I would be repaid with advice which was quite literally life-saving.”

Irish Independent

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