The Important Reason This Woman Posted Her Graphic Selfie
Tawny Willoughby is using her mistakes to teach the world about skin cancer prevention.
The 27-year-old mom has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once, according to her Facebook post below. On April 25, she decided to share the gruesome side to skin cancer treatment by uploading the graphic selfie below to Facebook.
The post’s original message read:
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. 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.
After her post garnered attention, Willoughby added information about her previous tanning routine:
To answer a few questions and comments I’ve seen, I did the bulk of my tanning in high school. I probably laid an average of 4-5 times a week (I laid frequently because my tan faded very fast). I never laid in the tanning bed and in the sun in the same day. I never laid in the tanning bed twice in one day. I had my first skin cancer diagnosis at 21. Now, at 27, I’ve had basal cell carcinoma 5 times and squamous cell carcinoma once (excluding my face). I go to the dermatologist every 6-12 months and usually have a skin cancer removed at each checkup. I’m very thankful to not have had melanoma!
She also offered some education:
Skin cancer is not always moles, only one of mine has been a mole. 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 will leave a disfiguring scar or grow deep enough to metastasize. Melanoma kills, non melanoma disfigures (and can also kill). Don’t be a statistic! This treatment was done using a cream called Aldara (imiquimod). I’ve also had the following treatments: Curettage and Electrodessication, Cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), Surgical Excision and Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).
Willoughby wrote on Facebook that in just two weeks, her photo was shared more than 5,000 times. As of May 12, though, that number had surpassed 50,000.
“I’ve lost count of how many people shared it now and told me I’ve helped them,” Willoughby told CNN. “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.”
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