A 27-year-old skin cancer survivor has bravely shared the gruesome photos of her cancer treatment—and story of her tanning obsession gone devastatingly wrong. Tawny Willoughby shared graphic pictures to Facebook as a warning to anyone who frequently uses tanning beds.
“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun, here ya go!” she wrote. “This is what skin cancer treatment looks like.”
The young mother described her tanning routine as “four to five times a week” in high school. She attributes that tanning habit to her diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
Willoughby’s pictures show her face covered in angry, red, painful scabs caused by her treatment known as imiquimod. It is a cream the triggers the immune system to kill abnormal cells in patients with non-melanoma skin cancers.
The treatment essentially causes the patient’s skin to attack itself through the immune system to destroy cancer cells on the skin. It causes horrific inflammation, scabs, and open sores.
Her battle with skin cancer began at the age of 21. She has undergone multiple types of treatments, including liquid nitrogen, surgery, and photodynamic therapy.
“Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it,” Willoughby wrote.