Skin cancer victim shares photo of treatment as warning about sunbed dangers

A woman in the United States has posted an image of her skin cancer treatment online, in an effort to warn others about the dangers of sunbeds.

Tawny Willoughby, 27, was diagnosed with skin cancer six years ago after using sunbeds up to five times a week during her school career.

Self-confessed "tanning addict" Tawny shared a stark photograph on Facebook last month, showing painful scars and burns all over her face in the hope it would persuade others to tan safely.

The stunning picture has been shared almost 50,000 times on Facebook and many comments praising her for the bold decision.

Initially the image of Tawny's face was reported to Facebook for "graphic violence", despite thousands of supportive shares and comments - but it wasn't removed by the social media giant.

Credit: Tawny Willoughby/Facebook

Tawny, a nurse and mother 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 Willoughby

She was first diagnosed at the age of 21 and says she used to use sunbeds on her face frequently because her "tan faded fast".

Tawny has to visit a dermatologist every six to twelve months and has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once.

She has to endure course of treatment that include a special cream and the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze tumours.

Tawny Willoughby pictured with her son. Credit: Tawny Willoughby/Facebook

Her advice to sunbed users is quite simple: Don't.

Tawny says:

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.

Tawny Willoughby

UK skin cancer charity Melanoma UK warns of the dangers of excess tanning on its website, saying:

"We simply cannot stress enough the importance of vigilance when it comes to skin. Check for changes and report anything that is of concern."

For more information on the risks associated with sunbeds, you can visit Cancer Research UK's website here.

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