“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lie in the tanning bed and sun here you go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like.”
Tawny Willoughby is a 27-year-old mum from Alabama that has shared photos of herself going through skin cancer treatment.
The nurse posted a picture which has now been shared over 50,000 times on Facebook, receiving a lot of support and praise.
Willoughby grew up in Kentucky, and says she used to go on a sunbed as often as 4 or 5 times a week.
I had my own personal tanning bed in my home and so did a lot of my friends growing up… everyone tanned. I didn’t really even think about the future or skin cancer at the time.
However, a friend of Tawny was diagnosed with melanoma 6 years ago, so she decided to go for her first dermatology appointment. Unfortunately, aged just 21, Tawny was diagnosed with skin cancer.
Since then, she has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once, and now has to visit her dermatologist every 6-12 months – where she ‘usually has a skin cancer removed at each checkup’.
Tawny has several treatments, including having liquid nitrogen on her face to free off tumours.
She told CNN:
Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Don’t let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up. That’s my biggest fear now that I have a two-year-old little boy of my own.
Skin cancer is not always moles, only one of mine has been a mole. Get any suspicious, new and growing spots checked out. Anything that doesn’t heal, possibly bleeds on and off and crusts. The sooner you find it the less likely it will leave a disfiguring scar or grow deep enough to metastasize.
Don’t be a statistic!
Despite such a huge following and support, the photo was reported on Facebook for ‘graphic violence’. Thankfully, though, it wasn’t removed. And rightly so.
Apparently, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life. That is a terrifying statistic, I had no idea it was so high.
Tanning beds massively increase the chance of melanoma, and are apparently linked to more than 419,000 skin cancer cases per year.
Sunbeds are not a ‘safe’ alternative of sun tanning, as they still emit UV radiation, which is what causes skin cancer. A sunbed tan is also NOT protection from the sun, as some people seem to think. A sunbed tan is the equivalent to SPF 2 cream – which is not enough to protect you properly.
Sun bed tanning doesn’t make you look any better, either. You don’t, in the future, want to look like a cross between that woman from ITV’s Benidorm and a conker, do you?
Be safe with sunbeds, if you must use them, and if you have ANYTHING that is abnormal or even a slight concern with your skin, go and see a doctor as soon as you can.