'Chocolate' on Woman's Arm Turns Out to Be Something So Much Scarier

dermatologist checking woman's arm We've all heard the horror stories about tanning fanatics getting skin cancer, but we probably rarely think that we could end up being diagnosed ourselves. But Natasha Mash's story is a cautionary tale for us all. 

Four years ago, the now 26-year-old noticed a brown mark on her arm, only to dismiss it as a splotch of chocolate from a candy bar. When it wouldn't budge, she went to her doctor, who reassured her that she was too young for it to be anything malignant. But another doctor she saw a few months later noticed that it may be something to keep an eye on. Still, it wasn't until she went back for a checkup that she found out the mole was actually melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

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Mash underwent initial surgery a week after her diagnosis and then went on to have two more operations to make sure the cancer was completely removed.

More from The Stir: Newlywed Dies of Cervical Cancer at 26 After Being Denied a Simple Pap Smear

She explained, "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."

Still, it's more than a bit unnerving to think that there were so many missed opportunities for it to be caught even sooner. Her story is, of course, a reminder that we ought to give credence to any eyebrow-raising skin changes or abnormalities. But it's even bigger than that. There's no harm in being overly cautious or getting a second opinion, and above all else, trusting your intuition when it comes to your health. In fact, there's more harm in not doing these things.

What happened to this young woman is really disgraceful. To be blown off, because you're "too young"? Since when does cancer discriminate against age? 

For Mash, and many people who are diagnosed with the disease young, it certainly didn't. With hope, her story inspires others who may be in the same boat to take action and demand answers from their health care providers. Being proactive about something seemingly so small could end up saving their lives.

Have you ever had a doctor blow off a concern like this only to find out you were right all along?


Image via iStock.com/minemero

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