As a teenager, Mallory Lubbock used to go tanning every day for two years, spending up to four hours a day in a tanning bed. Now, the Iowa mother-of-two is sharing her regret on Facebook in an effort to encourage people to get checked and to stop tanning. The images Lubbock shares are graphic, but, to her, the grim reality is necessary. On Tuesday, March 6, she shared pictures of her first surgical removal of a skin cancer on her upper lip, telling people that from this point forward, she has to go back for suture removal, and now, she will spend the rest of her life getting check-ups, and potentially, more skin cancers removed.
The 26-year-old hopes her pictures will scare other 16-year-olds away from getting into a tanning bed or it will reach mothers whose daughters are already tanning and that those mothers will show their daughters these frightening images. As a mother of a daughter herself, Lubbock said she will try to keep her daughter out of the tanning bed and will “do everything in my power to make sure she hopefully doesn’t.”
According to Melanoma.org, the use of tanning beds before the age of 30 increases the risk of the development of melanoma by 75 percent. Even the occasional use of tanning beds triples your chances. And, of course, the more time you spend in the bed, the higher your risks become, and that is the message Lubbock is trying to spread.
So far, her post has been shared 162 times, but Lubbock’s story has been picked up by various news outlets that are helping to spread the word.
“I am so glad the story is getting out there because I have at least 30 messages of people getting checked out now! It has literally done exactly what I want it to and it can only help even more from here!” Lubbock told Fox News.
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form with an estimated 4.3 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year. While not as deadly as other skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma results in more than 3,000 deaths per year. Squamous cell carcinoma results in more than 15,000 deaths per year with an estimated 1 million diagnosed each year. And one person dies from the deadliest form of skin cancer — melanoma — every hour, and more people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
These sobering facts, combined with her own diagnosis, compelled Mallory Lubbock to go public with her story.