DiversityNursing Blog

Frequent Tanner Shares Grisly Skin-Cancer Selfie

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, May 15, 2015 @ 11:46 AM

By AnneClaire Stapleton

www.cnn.com 

Tawny Willoughby grew up in small-town Kentucky, where, she said, it was normal to use a tanning bed four or five times a week. 

"I had my own personal tanning bed in my home, and so did a lot of my friends growing up. ... Everyone tanned," Willoughby said. "I didn't really even think about the future or skin cancer at the time." 

150512155326 09 tawny willoughby exlarge 169 resized 600After one of her classmates in nursing school was diagnosed with melanoma, Willoughby made her first dermatology appointment at age 21. Sure enough, she had skin cancer.

Now 27, Willoughby says she has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once. She goes to the dermatologist every six to 12 months and usually has a cancerous piece of skin removed at each checkup.

She's become a cautionary tale about the hazards of tanning beds, thanks to a selfie she posted last month on Facebook. The grisly image, taken after one of her cancer treatments, shows her face covered with bloody scabs and blisters. It's since been shared almost 50,000 times.

"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," she wrote in a post along with the photo. "Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it."

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One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, said the academy, which reports that more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning.

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for adults 25-29 years old and the second-most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old, according to the academy. Warning signs include changes in size, shape or color of a mole or other lesion, the appearance of a new growth on the skin or a sore that doesn't heal. 

Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include skin that burns easily, blond or red hair and a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns and tanning-bed use -- dangers that the blonde, blue-eyed Willoughby now knows all too well. 

Willoughby, a registered nurse who now lives in northern Alabama, said she never expected the Facebook picture of her damaged face to go viral. 

But she's excited to think her story might save someone's life.

"I've lost count of how many people shared it now and told me I've helped them," she said. "It's really cool to hear people say they won't tan anymore. I've had mothers thank me after sharing my pictures with their daughters. People in my hometown said they are selling their tanning beds.

"I never thought about the future when I was in high school; I just tanned because it was normal to me." 

Willoughby knows she'll deal with the consequences of tanning for the rest of her life. She's at high risk for developing melanoma but is now doing everything she can to ensure that she's around for her husband, Cody, and their young son, Kayden, for years to come. 

"Learn from other people's mistakes," she wrote on Facebook. "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."

Topics: health, healthcare, nurses, doctors, medical, cancer, treatment, skin, tanning beds, basal cell carcinoma, tanning, skin cancer, melanoma, dermatology

Tattoo Artist Uses Skin-Colored Ink To Make Burn Victim's Scars Disappear

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 07, 2015 @ 01:18 PM

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Patients from around the world are seeking out Basma Hameed's unique skill set. Basma is a para-medical tattoo specialist who helps restore burn victims natural skin color.

Basma found herself in the field of micro-pigment implantation after a tragic childhood accident. When Hameed was just two years old, she was badly burned by hot oil in a kitchen accident. She endured more than 100 painful procedures - from plastic surgery to laser treatments. But half her face remained scarred with red discoloration. She was advised nothing more could be done but refused to give up.

Hameed discovered cosmetic tattooing while getting an eyebrow tattooed to replace the one she had lost from the burn. She decided if tattooing could replace eyebrows, then why not her original skin color?

Basma not only transformed her own face, but also started a booming business - the Basma Hameed Clinic.

She is pushing to have these micro pigment implantation treatments covered as medical expenses, but for those who can't afford them, she does them free of charge.

"I've gone through a lot and I've suffered enough," Basma told CBC News. "And I know I'm not alone. There's a lot of people who are going through similar situations, and I wanted to give back and help as many people as possible."

Basma's success has established an excellent working relationship with reputable plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and others in the medical community who regularly refer clients for permanent makeup and scar camouflage.

In addition to burn victims, Basma also treats people with skin conditions like vitiligo and cancer survivors who need redrawing of eyebrows that disappeared during chemotherapy.

Watch the video below. *Warning: images of burn victims may be disturbing for some.

Source: www.sunnyskyz.com

Topics: nurses, doctors, patients, hospital, treatment, surgeries, para-medical, tattoo, burn victims, skin, cosmetic, scar, scar tissue

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