This woman's selfie is graphic, but it sends a powerful message.

A young mum has taken a graphic photograph to show the reality of skin cancer. Tawny Willoughby was first diagnosed with skin cancer at the age of 21.

The young mother says she has been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once.

According to Tawny, she spent four or five days a week in high school tanning for long periods of time.

“I never laid in the tanning bed and in the sun in the same day. I never laid in the tanning bed twice in one day. I had my first skin cancer diagnosis at 21,” she wrote on Facebook.

Now, at the age of 27, Tawny visits the dermatologist every six-12 months and “usually have a skin cancer removed each check up.” Recently she posted a selfie on Facebook about what these treatments are really like.

“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go!” Tawny wrote with the image.

“This is what skin cancer treatment can look like. Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it.

“Learn from other people’s mistakes. Don’t let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up. That’s my biggest fear now that I have a two-year-old little boy of my own.”

sun safety selfie
Tawny after her treatment.( Image: Facebook)

The image shows the pretty blonde from Alabama after she underwent a treatment called “Aldara”, or imiquimod –a topical cream used to treat genital warts and superficial basal cell carcinoma, like the one on Tawny’s face.

On top of this treatment, she has also undergone electronic, surgical and cryo-freezing treatments for her various other pre-skin cancers.

After the photo she posted gained huge attention, Ms Willoughby continued her advice:

“Skin cancer is not always moles, only one of mine have been a mole. Get any suspicious, new and growing spot checked out. Anything that doesn’t heal, possibly bleeds on and off and crusts,” she wrote on Facebook.

“The sooner you find it the less likely it will leave a disfiguring scar or grow deep enough to metastasize. Melanoma kills, non melanoma disfigures (and can also kill). Don’t be a statistic!”

Have you ever had an experience with skin cancer? Tell us your story.

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