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Woman's graphic skin cancer treatment photo goes viral

It’s not nice – but it’s necessary to see.
May 12th 2015, 8:23 PM 61,141 43

tawny willoughby Source: Tawny Willoughb via Facebook

A YOUNG AMERICAN woman undergoing treatment for skin cancer posted a photo of her burned and blistered face online – and it has been shared almost 50,000 times.

Tawny Willoughby said at the time:

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.

She explained afterwards that she did the bulk of her tanning in high school, tanning an average of four to five times a week.

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.

She had her 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),” she said.

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.

skin cancer treatment Source: Tawny Willougby

She explained that the treatment in the photo was done using a cream called Aldara (imiquimod). She has also had a range of other treatments on her skin.

The shocking photo was swiftly shared by people on Facebook, and has clocked up over 48,000 shares so far.

skin c 1 Source: Cosmopolitan

mirror Source: The Mirror

However, the photo was also reported to Facebook for “containing graphic violence”, though it wasn’t removed.

Of the reaction to her photo, Willoughby said:

I posted it hoping at least one person would really pay attention and maybe change their tanning habits.

Read: A cancer survivor created wonderfully honest ‘empathy cards’, and now they’re going viral>

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Aoife Barry

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