Like most people, particularly of her generation, Judy Noble Cloud spent a lot of time outside as a child, and young teenager. In her early 20s, Judy was also a fan of sun-beds.
As common as these activities are, they are also known causes of developing skin cancer later in life. Something the 49-year-old mum knows a lot about.
In September last year, Judy uploaded an album of photographs to her Facebook. Though they are not what you would call happy-snaps, Judy’s photos serve a valuable purpose. They are a heartfelt warning.
“This Is Skin Cancer,” he captioned the album. “This is the result of using tanning beds when I was younger. This is the result of having numerous sunburns as a child and teen, and not being religious about applying sunscreen, and staying out in the sun far too long as a teen and into my 20’s and even early 30’s.”
The album contains a series of photographs documenting Judy’s ongoing battle against skin cancer, and the many procedures she has undergone in order rid her body of the cancerous spots. “On September 2, I had my fourth surgery to remove cancerous spots,” she wrote. “The skin cancer keeps coming back…”
Judy had 23 cancerous spots surgically removed in one day, “ten by excision (meaning I had ten places on me that had stitches) and thirteen by laser.”
She was unable to move normally or shower for weeks, and had fears about post-op complications such as pneumonia and blood clots.
While Judy’s story is one of strength, she is not posting the images for sympathy or even just documentation. She is sharing the images of her wounds and ongoing recovery in order to encourage young people to think about the way they treat their skin, and the very real consequences of mistreating it for the sake of self image.
“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,” Judy continues. “Look at the pictures. This could be you. Anyone can get skin cancer, even people who have darker skin tones. It is a misconception that only fair-skinned people can get skin cancer. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate.”
Judy had a cancer removed from a muscle in her mouth, and even when she posted these photos (four weeks post-op) she was unable to open it properly. “What the pictures also don’t show is the numbness I now have on my forehead and scalp,” she adds. “Notice the lovely 2-1/2” scar on my forehead? From that point to approximately two inches up my scalp, I have no feeling.”
All in all, the procedures cost Judy a total $26,845.87. A cost much higher than a trip to the tanning salon.
“I know tanning salons advertise tanning packages that are cheap,” she posted. “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.”
Together, we can decrease the risks of skin cancer, and others such as ovarian cancer: