An Alabama woman’s Facebook selfie showing her severely scabbed face after skin cancer treatment, which is serving as a warning to others about the hazards of tanning and skin cancer, has gone viral.
“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like.” Willoughby wrote in her Facebook post.
Tawny Willoughby, 27, who is a registered nurse, says she spent much of her teen years perfecting her tan lying in the sun and in tanning beds as much as four to five times a week. At age 21, she was diagnosed with skin cancer. Since then, she has had six carcinomas removed.
Willoughby says she has had five basal cell carcinomas and one squamous cell carcinoma, both generally treatable forms of skin cancer. “I’m very thankful not to have melanoma!” she wrote in her post. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, killing nearly 10,000 Americans annually.
Willoughby hopes her post will be a warning to other teenagers and young adults who mindlessly lay in the sun with inadequate protection or, worse yet, use tanning beds. She encourages everyone to familiarize themselves with signs and symptoms of skin cancer and to check their skin at least monthly.
Risk factors include a family history of skin cancer, having moles, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and tanning beds, and having had five or more blistering sunburns before the age of 20, which can increase melanoma risk by 80 percent. Some medications can also increase the risk of skin cancer.
The use of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra can increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 84 percent. The risk remains even after use of the drug has been stopped.
“Skin cancer is not always moles, only one of mine have been a mole,” Willoughby wrote. “Get any suspicious, new and growing spot checked out. Anything that doesn’t heal, possibly bleeds on and off and crusts. The sooner you find it the less likely it’ll leave a disfiguring scar or grow deep enough to metastasize.
“Melanoma kills, non melanoma disfigures (and can also kill). Don’t be a statistic!”
Source: CBS News