Woman Posts Pictures of Her Skin Cancer to Try to Convince People Not to Use Tanning Beds

March 7, 2016 Updated: March 7, 2016
FONT BFONT SText size

A woman has posted pictures of her skin cancer online to try to scare people away from using tanning beds. Note: Story includes graphic photos.

Judy Cloud was only 28 years old when she went to a dermatologist to check what she thought was a scab.

It was actually skin cancer.

The Indianapolis resident was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Now, 21 years later, Cloud is documenting her long battle with the illness through a series of pictures.

Three days after surgery, left; and five days after surgery. (Facebook)
Three days after surgery, left; and five days after surgery. (Facebook)

“I hear too many people say that they feel better about how they look after they go to a tanning bed or after they bake in the sun for hours on end. Look at the pictures. This could be you,” she said.

Her fourth surgery happened in September 2015, and included doctors removing 23 spots of skin cancer.

The surgery took three hours and forced Cloud to take two weeks off of work while she recuperated by basically not moving, with her legs elevated at all times. 

Cloud wants others to know the potential dangers of tanning beds and being in the sun without sunscreen. According to the Skin Cancer foundation, 20 percent of Americans will get skin cancer within their lifetime—making it the most common form of the disease in the United States.

Cloud 13 days after the surgery, left; and two weeks after the surgery, before heading to work. (Facebook)
Cloud 13 days after the surgery, left; and two weeks after the surgery, before heading to work. (Facebook)

My 20-year-old self would never share [these pictures] and my 30-year-old self would never share them, but when my doctor said I was going to have another surgery, I said, ‘I’m going to document it this time and post it afterwards,'” Cloud told Self magazine.

“I never thought I would show myself on Facebook without makeup on let alone without makeup on and looking so injured. But, I’m old enough now to know this is needed.”

She added on Facebook:

“The face seems to be the fastest area to heal. The wounds on my arm, chest, shoulder, and legs are taking much longer to heal. I now have a 3″ scar and a 2-1/2” scar on my chest, along with several laser scars. Does that sound worth it for you to keep going to a tanning bed? The removal of the skin cancer on my legs left indentations. The indentations won’t go away, although the scars will fade in time. Keep in mind that I went to a very skilled, very good plastic surgeon for removal of my skin cancer. Many times, a dermatologist will whack off the area, and believe me, a dermatologist doesn’t typically take quite the care that a plastic surgeon does–even on the face.

“Total billed for my outpatient procedure? $26,845.87. I know tanning salons advertise tanning packages that are cheap. Does a surgery to correct what the tanning bed does to you still make the tanning special sound cheap? I’m really hoping the thought of going to a tanning bed no longer sounds quite so attractive to you.”