“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.”
Those are the words of Tawny Willoughby, a woman who has seen her April 25 Facebook post blow up in the past few days. The graphic photo, which you are about to see below, has been shared over 57,000 times.
“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,” says Willoughby.
The photo is graphic, but that’s likely why it’s making such an impact on social media. It’s easy to ignore a verbal warning from a friend, doctor, or foundations. It’s much harder to ignore something like the image above.
The image is receiving positive attention, but also some of the negative variety:
Willoughby shouldn’t worry. Facebook has stated that it allows graphic photos/videos as long as they service to educate instead of glorify. This most certainly falls into that category.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America, with over 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year. It’s also one of the most preventable.