Melissa's story

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I had basal cell carcinoma and stage IIa malignant melanoma. I have been negative since April 27, 2012. I tanned outdoors since I was 15 years old. I missed a few years and really got more into it the older I got. I tried indoor tanning in 2010 and tanned all year with the exception of the summer. I noticed a mole I always had and it had changed quite a bit in December 2010. I watched it for a few months. It just kept getting bigger. I had it removed and was prepared for it to be melanoma. I did research on it when it started changing, but I wish I had done it before I had ever tanned. I had my wide-excision biopsy done on April 27, 2011. I had lymph node dissection of the groin and of the three lymph nodes that were removed, none of them had any melanoma cells. I remain stage II, and I hope I always will.

I hope that someday teens will choose to embrace their natural skin tones.

Now I spend a lot of time educating people about the dangers of tanning. I believe that tanning caused my melanoma and basal cell cancers. I hope that someday teens will choose to embrace their natural skin tones and tanning salons will not offer tanning beds, but only spray tans or lotions. I have a blog about this topic at http://melissa-melanomasucks.blogspot.com/.

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