A mother has smiled and acknowledged her beauty for the first time in eight years after surgeons removed her enormous facial tumour.
Known only as Yaya, the 27-year-old was barely able to speak or eat because of the huge mass growing inside of her mouth.
The tumour, which stretched down one side of her face and around her chin, left her too embarrassed to leave her house.
She would only dare to venture outside and come into contact with cruel strangers when her face was entirely covered by a scarf.
But, after an operation by surgeons on-board a charity ship, Yaya, from Cameroon, Africa, is proud of her ‘new’ face.
Speaking about the results of the life-changing procedure for the first time, she told doctors: ‘I feel beautiful and happy.’
Yaya, who was operated on by medics from charity Mercy Ships, added: ‘Since the surgery, I feel released. Everything is easier to do
‘I feel free to move and go anywhere. I don’t get a reaction anymore from people who see me.’
Eight year ordeal
It took eight years for a tiny lump on Yaya’s jaw to grow until she was barely able to eat or speak.
She was unable to find doctors or the funds to have an operation, until the hospital ship docked nearby.
Returned to her daughter
While on board for treatment, she helped translate for other patients, before she was well enough to return to see her daughter Moonira, nine.
Mercy Ships was founded in 1978 and has worked in more than 70 countries.
Tumours: The facts
Tumours can be benign or cancerous. Unlike cancerous tumours, benign ones usually grow slowly and do not spread.
These only become a problem if they grow to be very large, press on organs, release hormones, or are uncomfortable or unsightly.
Cancerous tumours get bigger as their cells continue to grow and divide.