Warning: This post contains images that many could consider graphic.
All Tawny Willoughby wanted was a nice tan, but what she got instead is six years of painful skin cancer treatments.
The 27-year-old has been making headlines for sharing a graphic picture on Facebook of her bloody face scabs, which are caused by one of the creams she uses to combat the disease. She's hoping the image, which has gotten more than 57,000 shares, will help people learn from her mistakes.
"If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go!" the Alabama resident wrote in a post. "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."
Willoughby, who has a two-year-old son, admits she tanned an average of four to five times a week beginning in high school and received her first cancer diagnosis at 21.
Examples of what Willoughby looked like in high school.
"Skin cancer is not always moles, only one of mine have been a mole," she explained. "Get any suspicious, new and growing spot checked out. Anything that doesn't heal, possibly bleeds on and off and crusts."
The registered nurse has been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once, both of which can be medically treated.
Her treatment has included curettage (which removes tissue), cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), surgical excision (shaving of the lesion) and Photodynamic Therapy (which combines drugs and a specific type of light to kill cancer cells).
Bravo to Willoughby for bringing awareness to this very serious issue!