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Home Health Cancer Awareness Woman's Skin Cancer Selfie Is A Cautionary Tale For Sunbathers

Woman's Skin Cancer Selfie Is A Cautionary Tale For Sunbathers

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Womans-Skin-Cancer-Selfie-Is-A-Cautionary-Tale-For-SunbathersPhoto Credit: Tawny Willoughby

Warning: Some images are graphic and might be disturbing or upsetting to viewers.

A grisly photo posted by a 27-year-old woman who used to regularly use tanning beds four to five times a week has gone viral.

Tawny Willoughby grew up in a small community in Kentucky where it was normal to frequently use tanning beds. She says she and many of her friends had tanning beds in their homes.

Womans-Skin-Cancer-Selfie-Is-A-Cautionary-Tale-For-Sunbathers-2Photo Credit: Tawny Willoughby

Then, at the age of 21, Willoughby was diagnosed with skin cancer.

The photos, which show bloody scabs on Willoughby’s face, were posted on Facebook last month as a cautionary tale to frequent tanners who aren’t thinking about the future.

"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, she wrote. "Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it."

Womans-Skin-Cancer-Selfie-Is-A-Cautionary-Tale-For-Sunbathers-3Photo Credit: Tawny Willoughby

One in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime and melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer for adults 25 to 29 years old.

Willoughby, who has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once, must get cancer treatments every six months to a year which leaves her face with bloody blisters and scabs.

In an interview with CNN, Willoughby said she was surprised but happy with the reaction that she’s been getting. Her post has been shared more than 50,000 times. 

"I've lost count of how many people shared it now and told me I've helped them," she said. "It's really cool to hear people say they won't tan anymore. I've had mothers thank me after sharing my pictures with their daughters. People in my hometown said they are selling their tanning beds.”

The mom says she worries about not seeing her son Kayden grow up. "Learn from other people's mistakes," she wrote in a post on Facebook. "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."

 

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