Andrea Moser had always believed the flat brown mark above her lip was a beauty spot.
The 49-year-old noticed that it had started to grow in size and the color had changed.
This had been in January 2020 and due to her fair skin complexion, Andrea said she went to her GP to get it checked out.
She claims that the GP told her that it looked ‘just like a normal mole’ and that she needn’t worry about it.
But scrolling through Instagram one day, Andrea, who lives in Montana, noticed someone getting an annual skin check and decided she would see a dermatologist.
They immediately found several areas of concern – including the worrying mark above her lip.
They took a biopsy and found a spot on her back was squamous cell skin cancer and, at the time, they believed the mark on her lip was currently at a pre-cancerous stage.
Andrea, who works as an estate agent, said she was glad that she had gone in even though they hadn’t thought the mark was cancerous.
She said her mum had been pretty worried as she had previously had some spots removed.
While Andrea was concerned about the marks, she was relieved that they were a more common form of cancer that would be able to be treated due to how fast off the mark she had been.
In March 2020 she had a procedure to remove the mark on her lip as well as a spot on her back.
She was told that medics would need to make a large incision in order to cover the area surrounding the mole.
“They essentially burned [the hole on my back] off and it scabbed up.”
“But they wanted to make sure they got the entire spot above my life so that was more invasive.”
“They had to cut the entire mole out and make a large incision along my smile line to pull the skin back up and make sure it didn’t look like I had a hole above my lip.”
“I didn’t know how big it would be going into it, but thankfully I had an amazing surgeon who did a wonderful job”, she said.
Once removed and tested, experts found that the mole was melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.
When it comes to moles, they are usually about a quarter of an inch in size, evenly colored brown, tan or black and can be flat or raised.
Some are present at birth, but most appear as children or young adults and once they’ve developed, they usually stay the same size, shape and color.
The most important warning sign of melanoma is a new spot on the skin or when a mole changes in appearance.
Doctors were however confident that they had removed the entire mole from Andrea’s face due to the surface area which had been taken.
Andrea said that she was shocked as she never thought something like this could happen to her and that after surgery, it took her a long time to get used to the incision on her face.
“My smile is a little different now but also a reminder that I was able to overcome this and the melanoma didn’t win”, she said.
Now Andrea is more diligent than ever when it comes to her skincare routine and says she uses an SPF lotion on her face now every day, even in the winter.
After looking back at old photos of herself, Andrea said she spotted that the mark had been growing since 2009.
She has now shared her story online in order to warn other about the dangers of cancer and to encourage them to go for regular skin checks.
Andrea said: “This was a wake-up call for me as to how important it is to get checked regularly and wear sun protection.”
“I spent a lot of years not caring about it and I was hoping by sharing it would help other people to get checked before it’s too late.”
“I heard lots of stories from people that decided to get checked so that made me happy. Some found nothing but others did find stuff and were able to get it taken care of.”
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.