A 33-year-old mother of two was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer; due to overuse of a sunbed her parents bought her at 16.
Lisa Guthrie has more than 100 moles on her body so she has annual appointments with a dermatologist to check for any that may be malignant.
She had several moles removed over the years, but she said the biopsies always came back benign so she never worried about cancer or any other skin disease.
Read More: LED Bandage To Treat Skin Cancer
She had two suspicious moles removed from her stomach and back and the skin specialist told her the one on her back looked suspicious.
“The nurse said the one on my back looked a little bit grey in color” she said. “It wasn't bleeding or itchy and it didn't affect me in anyway.” “I just thought she was being over cautious, she said ‘let’s be safe and get these two off.’ This was normal to me. It wasn't anything to worry about.”
Guthrie, a beauty blogger, said she always been into her looks and a major component of looking good was to have a tan. When her parents bought her a sunbed at 16 she would lay in it for an hour daily while she napped.
Although she got rid of her sunbed upon giving birth to her two children, Guthrie still made frequent trips to tanning salons and neglected adequate skin protection when outdoors in the sun.
“I was obsessed with getting a tan when I was younger,” Guthrie said. “I have always been obsessed with looking good.”
Upon receiving the news of her disease, Guthrie said she was angry and had a break down. She had to undergo another surgery so the doctors could make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to other areas.
“I was handed Macmillan brochures and cancer brochures of people I could talk to. It was all becoming very real,” she said.
Guthrie is now in remission and she said she is taking much better care of her skin these days. She said the experienced changed her and made her appreciate life much more and strengthened her family.
She’s now using her beauty blog to spread awareness to women and girls about the dangers of sunbeds and she suggests using spray tans instead.
“When I used sunbeds it was quite popular, it was a cool thing to do,” she said. “I don't think it is now, I think you are more savvy if you don't use sunbeds and look after your skin.”
“It is not what you do now it is what you did when you were younger. It may take a few years to catch up with you but it will catch up with you in the end,” she added.