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Lauren’s personal story

Lauren Emerson
In 2007, at the young age of 22, I remember looking in the mirror and noticing what appeared to be a skin tag. The following week at a routine dermatology appointment, I asked my doctor to please remove the "skin tag" because swim-suit season was coming and I thought it was ugly. Little did I know that I would be getting a phone call that let me know that the spot I had removed had been biopsied and tested positive for skin cancer.

That little spot that I thought was so ugly was known as a Premalignant Fibroepithelial Tumor (Pinkus Tumor). I was informed that it was a very rare form and that my doctors had only heard of one other girl being diagnosed with this type before and that the girl burned in the sun easily. I have never burned, but I did love the tanning bed as a teen. The dark, glowing skin made me feel "pretty." Now that dark skin that I longed for and that "ugly" cancerous spot I had removed has left me with a big, ugly scar (from the flesh cut out of my body to remove that tumor and the cells around it after being diagnosed) to help remind me of the damage the tanning bed caused.

Tan skin can make you pretty, but its damaging effects will leave you with damage, imperfections, and even death. Avoid tanning beds, wear sunscreen and other protective sun wear. Protect your beautiful skin, it's the only skin you get.