A skin cancer survivor recently spoke about surviving skin cancer and hoping to warn others about the dangers of trying to tan skin to prevent others suffering the same fate as herself.
Tanning, either under the sun or on tanning beds is known to cause skin problems ranging from sunburn, to premature skin aging to skin cancer.
Possible results of skin tanning
For years Melissa Wallace had tanned her skin. In 2008, she was diagnosed withmelanoma and more recently has received treatment for treating skin cancer on her face.
Melissa has endured excruciating pain as a direct result of tanning. She also has to use topical chemotherapy treatments for her facial skin which makes her facial skin go red, toblister and peel off; even bleed.
There is also blistering inside the mouth and the face looks like one big scab when treatment is ongoing.
There can also be problems eating because of the treatment: the cracked and blistered skincan make eating difficult and the chemotherapy can cause nausea, which compounds the problems.
Mellissa wants to use her story to caution people not to use tanning. At the same time she is aware that tanning can be quite addictive; having been doing it for most of her life.
Tips to prevent skin cancer
Sun protection is the primary precaution to take of course. Not only should you be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you should be reapplying it every two hours if you have been swimming or sweat excessively. You should also keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and wearprotective clothing (long sleeves, long pants) and hats to protect against sun damage.
It is important to remember that tanning beds are as bad as sun tanning and can cause as much damage to the skin.
Periodically check your skin from head to toe each month for any changes or inconsistencies. A new mole, a new spot or any new growth or fast growing tissue could be a warning sign that should be reported to the doctor promptly.
It is recommended that a physical exam be performed by a doctor or professional each year so that any abnormalities can be detected and treated in time.