Kayla van Petegem
2 minute read
16 Nov 2018
8:32 am

Pretoria woman’s cold sore turns out to be lip cancer

Kayla van Petegem

Clara van Heerden got a cold sore in 2016 that would not go away, prompting a visit to the hospital, where she received devastating news. WARNING: Graphic content.

Clara van Heerden of Hermanstad. Photo: Kayla van Petegem

A Pretoria west woman is despondent after something that looked like a mere cold sore turned out to be lip cancer.

Clara van Heerden of Hermanstad said after she got a cold sore that would not go away in June 2016, she was referred to the Steve Biko Academic hospital by her family doctor, she explained to Pretoria Moot Rekord.

“The doctor said it looked like lip cancer, which was why he referred me to the hospital,” she said.

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She said three biopsies and one computed tomography (CT) scan results showed that it was only an infection.

“Just after the third biopsy in July this year, it started growing and getting worse,” she said.

Van Heerden said she returned to hospital after her lip got worse.

“The doctors then decided to treat it as cancer, but added that they would have to cut my lip out,” she said.

“I immediately got up and walked out because I simply could not believe that I was about to lose my lip because of a cold sore.”

Taking matters into her own hands, Van Heerden took to social media asking for help.

Van Heerden said a doctor from Pretoria offered to operate on her lip for free.

“Although he is doing the procedure free of charge, I will still be responsible for the hospital and operation room charges,” she said.

Donations for Van Heerden are thus of utmost importance, as the operation would cost around R100 000.

Van Heerden explained how the procedure would work.

“The doctor will cut the cancer from my lip and attempt to pull the skin from my cheeks to fill the gap,” she explained.

“If that is not going to work, he will have to use skin from my breast.”

“I will never look like a normal person again and will never have a bottom lip like everyone else.”

Anyone who would like to assist Van Heerden can visit her Facebook page for more information.

“The doctor said he aimed to do the procedure before the end of the month,” Van Heerden said.

Watch the video below to see the extent of Van Heerden’s cancer. WARNNG: Graphic content.

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