- Alison O’Neill said hello america his cancerous tumor was initially diagnosed as a clogged sebaceous gland.
- Doctors diagnosed O’Neill with angiosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in the lining of blood vessels.
- Angiosarcoma can appear on the skin as raised, bruise-like bumps that develop over time.
A woman went to her dermatologist to have an unsightly bump removed from her face – she had been told it was harmless, but she wanted it done anyway.
She’s grateful she did: After the minor operation, her doctor discovered that the lump was actually a rare cancerous tumour.
Alison O’Neill, a 49-year-old woman from Arizona, said hello america she went to a dermatologist in 2017 after noticing a “tiny little mark” on her right cheek. The doctor told O’Neill that his mark was probably a clogged sebaceous gland.
The mark grew over time, so O’Neill said she went to have it removed for cosmetic reasons in 2020. A biopsy revealed the spot was actually a cancerous tumor that causes angiosarcoma.
Angiosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the lining of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, which collect and eliminate bacteria and viruses. According to the Mayo Clinic, angiosarcomas can occur anywhere on the body, but usually occur in the skin of the head or neck.
Renowned fashion designer Virgil Abloh died last year of an angiosarcoma in the heart.
Angiosarcoma on the skin appears as a raised, swollen area that looks like a bruise and gets bigger over time. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes angiosarcomas, but have identified some risk factors such as exposure to radiation or chemicals.
O’Neill told GMA that she is now in remission from angiosarcoma after surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding area, radiation therapy, facial reconstruction surgery and scar lightening procedures.
O’Neill shared her story with GMA to motivate other women to say they feel they are not receiving adequate medical attention. Women are more likely than men to suffer from diagnostic errorsand patients tend to wait longer for a cancer diagnosis, Insider’s Anna Medaris previously reported.
“You have to stand up for yourself when you’re going through a medical trip,” O’Neill told GMA. “I describe the last two years as being like crawling through the mud. Getting healthy is incredibly difficult and you have to work very, very hard at it.”