I wasn’t that worried, but my family doctor noticed the mole during a routine checkup — and got an appointment for me the next day! That freaked me out. A week later, I had the mole removed and I thought everything would be fine.
But then a few days later, my dad told me that we needed to talk. He said, "The doctor just got your test results. You have malignant melanoma," the deadliest form of skin cancer. Skin cancer? I thought only old people got that. "Dad, I’m 17. I don’t get skin cancer," I said. I sat there in silence. Finally, I asked, "Can I die from this?" He tried to reassure me that they caught it early and I would be okay, but I could see he was scared too.
Two weeks later, we went to a melanoma specialist who removed an inch of flesh, half a centimeter deep, around where my mole had been. There’s still an indentation from the chunk of skin that was taken out. And the cancer could still come back, which haunts me every day. I have to get skin checks with a dermatologist every four months, and check my lymph nodes for swelling because the cancer could resurface there and spread.
Now I never tan — though some of my friends still do. They don’t get it. So many girls think that cancer is a far-in-the-future risk, but you’re actually hurting your body now. I’m just glad I have the chance to tell someone who’s using tanning beds to make a better decision." For those who have been diagnosed with possible skin cancer or want to avoid it, there's 100% Herbal Instant Tan at www.herbalinstanttan.com, a bronzing lotion which provides the same great tanned color without the chemicals or worry of harmful side affects that other types of tanning can cause.
—Katie Donnar, 19