By Dannielle Crouch
I was in my teens when I got the fake tanning bug. I would purchase the unlimited monthly tanning packages that allowed for many tanning bed sessions to achieve that deep, dark tan. I began frequenting tanning salons in high school and continued well into my 20’s.
I was never informed of any health risks and certainly didn’t think I would be a victim of skin cancer. I have olive skin and dark hair and always tanned very easily in the sun. I didn’t fit into the high risk category. If you read about who is at risk it usually describes someone who has had many sunburns and very light complexion. That just wasn’t me.
Well, at 28 and many tanning sessions later my dermatologist diagnosed me with Malignant Melanoma after having a routine mole check. They removed a chunk out of my arm to make sure all margins were clear of Melanoma. I am lucky that the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes. If it had I would probably not be so lucky to be alive today.
I am now 33 and a mother of two very active young boys and I feel very blessed to be here raising them today. The decisions I made to use tanning beds could have cost me my life.
Now, I want people to know what happened to me and try to educate others and get them to stop using tanning beds. I was lucky, but many other melanoma patients may not be. If melanoma spreads it can be fatal. Like most cancers, early detection is key.
After being diagnosed with melanoma the doctors urge skin cancer patients to stay away from any Ultra-Violet tanning, which includes sun bathing and tanning beds. I was very disappointed that I would never be able to be tan without putting myself at risk. I started researching spray tanning as a safe way to tan and now own a mobile spray tanning company called Island Spray Tan.
Island Spray Tan uses a tanning solution that has many of Hollywood’s elite hooked. I am determined to use my misfortune to help spread the awareness of how dangerous tanning beds can be. The IARC suggests that the use of tanning beds before the age of 30 can raise your risk of getting melanoma by 75%. Choose a healthy option and use spray tanning. You shouldn’t put yourself at risk just for a tan.