Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Woman Shares Skin Cancer Selfie To Show The Dangers Of Tanning

Woman Shares Skin Cancer Selfie To Show The Dangers Of Tanning

The Debrief: Tawny Willoughby wants to warn people away from sunbeds…

As the days begin – just gradually, that is – to get warmer and kinder and nicer to us all, we might decide to get a bit of tanning done. And that isn’t necessarily a great idea. As Tawny Willoughby, a 27-year-old from Alabama, has shown.

The nurse has shared a photo of the skin cancer treatment she has needed after using sunbeds when she was younger.

She shared the photo of herself- covered in blotches and bloody scabs - on Facebook, along with the caption: ‘If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here you go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like.’

Tawny didn’t only use sunbeds, she 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,’ she told CNN. It was only when one of her classmates was diagnosed with melanoma that she thought to get herself checked out. She was diagnosed with skin cancer aged just 21 and in the six years since, she has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once.

She advised tanners: ‘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 have been a mole. Get any suspicious, new and growing spot checked out. Anything that doesn't heal, possibly bleeds on and off and crusts.’

‘Don’t be a statistic!’

And if you want to know about statistics, a recent study showed that 2,100 people die from skin cancer each year in the UK because they don’t make efforts to prevent it. While eight out of 10 people are worried about skin cancer, 72% have been burnt in the past year.

The solution? Avoid direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm, use sunscreen and keep skin covered! And check your skin once a month for marks or lumps which appear gradually and get bigger over time. These include sores that don’t heal, and scaly patches of skin which might be red and inflamed. If in any doubt, go to a GP.

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Tags: Going viral, Health