I thought my cancer was chocolate! Woman who first thought cancerous mole was a sticky smudge survives after life-saving surgery
A young woman discovered she had life-threatening illness after mistaking her cancerous mole for chocolate.
Natasha Mash, 26, tried to wipe off the unusual mark on her arm believing it was the remnants of her favourite chocolate bar.
Instead, she found the large brown spot was permanent and was eventually diagnosed with melanoma.
The youth worker needed three operations to save her life and completely remove the deadly mole and has now made an incredible full recovery.
Aged just 22, Natasha noticed the 2cm spot in the mirror and headed straight to her doctor.
She was reassured that the chocolate-coloured mole was nothing to worry about as she was so young.
But seven months later when she was at her GP’s surgery for a chest infection, her doctor noted the mole as a cause for concern and decided to keep an eye on it.
It was only when Natasha returned in February for a check-up that she found out the smudge she had at first thought was a blob of melted chocolate was actually skin cancer.
She underwent initial surgery a week after her diagnosis and then two further operations to make sure the cancer was completely removed.
Even now she has six-monthly check-ups and diligently checks all of her moles once a week to make sure there have been no changes.
Natasha was supported by the Teenage Cancer Trust who put her in touch with other young people who have also had the same type of cancer.
But she is determined not to wallow, wants to share her experience to help make other young people aware of the risks.
Natasha said: “I mistook my mole for chocolate and so quickly realised that it was something much more serious.
“Never did I think something so small or seemingly insignificant could have such a big effect.
“One day I saw this big mark on my arm. I thought it was chocolate and tried to wipe it off.
“Then I realised that it was a mole I had always had that had changed dramatically.
“It was April so I’d been wearing long-sleeved tops practically all of the time through the winter and not noticed it.
“I went to the doctor who shrugged it off and said it was nothing to worry about.
“You’re so young that you think these kind of things don’t happen to you.
“The following November I had a chest infection and when I took my jumper off for the doctor to listen to my chest she noticed and said she wanted to keep an eye on it.
“I went back in February for some tests and a week later I had a phone call saying that the doctor wanted to have a chat.
“I didn’t even think that it was anything to worry about until the doctor explained that it was melanoma and they needed to take action as quickly as possible.
“I had a big lump taken out of my arm at the beginning of March but I was really lucky that it was caught so early.
“At first they checked me every three months and now it’s every six months
“I am really careful in the sun now and prefer to go on holidays where it won’t be too hot.
“I spoke to a contact from the Teenage Cancer Trust at the hospital and she put me in touch with other young people who had a similar experience.
“I was able to talk about everything I was going through on the online forums which made a huge difference in helping me overcome the cancer.
“I thought I was the only person going through it but being able to speak to other people in the same position made me feel so much more normal!”