An inspirational skin cancer victim has shared a shocking picture of her treatment in a stark warning to sunbed users. She share the photo, and explained the circumstances that led to her diagnosis.
Tawny Willoughby was diagnosed with skin cancer at the age of just 21 after using sunbeds four or five times a week during in high school.
Former tanning addict Tawny, now 27, shared a picture of herself with painful scars and burns all over he face to try and persuade others to tan safely.
Tawny, a nurse from Alabama, said on Facebook: “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 was first diagnosed six years ago and said she used to use sunbeds so frequently because her “tan faded very fast”.
Since then she has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once. She visits her dermatologist every six to 12 months and “usually has a skin cancer removed at each checkup”.
Tawny uses a specialist cream and has had a string of treatments, including using liquid nitrogen on her face to freeze tumours.
“I did the bulk of my tanning in high school. I sometimes laid up to 4 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,” she wrote.
“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! 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. 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!”
She said: “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.
Despite thousands of supporters lauding Tawny for her inspirational selfie, the image was reported on Facebook for “graphic violence” – but it wasn’t removed.
The incredible picture has been shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook, with users praising the blond beauty for her brave decision.
Tawny’s friends rallied behind her, with one writing: “Proud of you for posting this! You’re such a brave and strong woman. You made it and it’s going to only get better for you starting now! You’re in my prayers daily. Love you.”
Charity Noel Holbrook wrote: “You are one strong lady. I’m so glad you’re almost finished with your treatments. Praying that you never have to deal with this again!”