An Arizona woman is opening up about her. A five-year battle with cancer To help inspire other women to take control of their health.

Alison O’Neill, now 49, said she noticed a small mark on her cheek in 2017.

“It’s like anything that we all go through in life, it seems like there’s going to be a flaw,” O’Neill said.Good morning America” “There was a small mark on my right cheek.”

O’Neill said she tracked down the symptom and had it checked out by a dermatologist, who told her it could be a clogged oil gland.

As the place grew over the years, O’Neill decided to destroy it.

“At that time, I was thinking about cosmetic surgery. It was very noticeable on my right cheek, but it was small, so I thought I wanted it removed,” she said. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought anything dangerous would happen.”

Photo: Arizona resident Alison O'Neill reveals a small lump on her face is cancerous.

Daniel O’Neill

Alison O’Neill of Arizona shows off a small lump of cancer on her face.

O’Neill in 2011. When the spot was removed in the spring of 2020, she said, her doctor did a routine biopsy.

To O’Neill’s surprise, the biopsy revealed that the tumor was cancerous.

“I think it’s an absolute shock to any of us who got this news,” O’Neill said. Because we’re going through life, living your life, we’re busy and then you get a flipping phone call.

“When I got that phone call, the first thing I thought was, I’m 47 years old and I’m going to die,” she said of that moment.

Angiosarcoma is a fast-growing cancer that is extremely rare, affecting only 1 in 1 million people in the United States each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

It can appear on any part of the body, but it is most common on the skin, breast, liver and liver. On the skin, angiosarcomas can sometimes be painful, scaly, purple areas that grow over time and bleed easily, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Photo: Arizona resident Alison O'Neill reveals a small lump on her face is cancerous.

Daniel O’Neill

Alison O’Neill of Arizona shows off a small lump of cancer on her face.

O’Neill found out shortly after receiving her diagnosis Dr. Brittany HowardChairman of the Department of Facial Plastic Surgery at Mayo Clinic Arizona.

During their first meeting, Howard performed an in-office procedure to remove the tumor from O’Neil’s face.

“Angiosarcoma is a very difficult tumor to see when you look at someone’s skin,” said Howard, who was able to remove the tumor while O’Neill was under local anesthesia. “You’re really only seeing the tip of the iceberg, which is cancer.”

Howard said she had to remove a large area from O’Neal’s right cheek to make sure all the cancer was removed.

O’Neill underwent six weeks of radiation and then additional surgery to help reconstruct her face.

The reconstruction effort on O’Neill’s face took skin from the adjacent areas of her face and neck and lifted her face up with an incision below her eye to her collarbone. Stript Stript Fible Stript Stript Fible Stript Stript Fible Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut “Face lifting is extremely difficult.”

“The destruction and devastation you see in your face goes against everything we know about self-preservation,” O’Neill said. “It is difficult to come to power by allowing this to happen.”

She continued, “Dr. Howard told me that I wanted to quit medicine, that the human body has amazing healing abilities. I took that and thought every day, this amazing body has amazing abilities. It has healing abilities.”

Photo: Alison O'Neill of Arizona is pictured after surgery and treatment for a cancerous tumor on her face.

Daniel O’Neill

Alison O’Neill of Arizona is pictured after surgery and treatment for a cancerous tumor on her face.

Another part of O’Neill’s reconstruction journey is using technologies like lasers and broadband light therapy to restore her skin to its natural color, says Howard O’Neill at the Mayo Clinic. Multipurpose beauty center.

“It’s very common for cancer patients to come in saying they should be happy to be alive, and they tell me they feel useless by complaining or worrying about their scars or changes in their face,” Howard said. But we don’t have to look in the mirror and see a cancer survivor.

Describing O’Neill, Howard continued, “She’s an amazing survivor, but she also shouldn’t look in the mirror and see the survivor. She should look in the mirror and see herself.”

Photo: Alison O'Neill is pictured with her husband Daniel O'Neill.

Daniel O’Neill

Alison O’Neill is pictured with her husband Daniel O’Neill.

O’Neill said she is now cancer-free.

She hopes her story will encourage other women to take control of their health and speak up when they see something wrong with their bodies.

“When you go through any medical journey, you have to advocate for yourself,” O’Neill said. “I described the last two years as wading through the mud. It’s incredibly hard to get your health back and you really have to work at it.”

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