Lisa Ryan is a 56-year-old mother from Des Moines, Iowa. When she was younger, she had a passion for laying out in the sun for as long as was needed to achieve the perfect tan. In fact, starting when she was only 12-years-old, tanning was one of her most beloved hobbies. She never used sunscreen but instead opted for baby oil, as that would give her the dark tan she was looking for. Later in life, she continued to tan, more for a sense of relaxation than anything. She had no idea how dangerous the constant tanning really was. It wasn’t until last March when Ryan was at the dermatology clinic that she realized that the tanning she’d done in her youth had left her with cancer, according to Today.
Ryan hadn’t been at the dermatology clinic for anything too serious. She thought she was just getting some treatment for a cyst on her back. However, the nurse practitioner happened to notice a spot on Ryan’s nose that she had always thought was just a freckle. Immediately, the nurse worried that the spot could be melanoma and decided to have part of the freckle removed and sent in for testing.
Ryan could hardly believe that the nurse was actually concerned. After all, she had grown up thinking that because her skin didn’t burn easily, she wasn’t at risk of skin cancer. She thought that as long as her skin was getting tan but not burning, she wasn’t putting herself into any danger.
“After all the reports about skin cancer I would think, ‘Gosh, I am really lucky that I get tan and (cancer) only happens to people who burn.’ I didn’t want to think I was at risk,” she said.
— WebMD (@WebMD) July 14, 2019
As it turned out, Ryan did have melanoma. Thankfully, it had been caught so early on that it was only at stage zero. However, the spot had to be removed immediately and doctors wanted to remove the skin surrounding the spot as well, as a precautionary measure. Her nose later had to be reconstructed, but will never look the way it once did.
The surgery left Ryan with a long scar stretching from between her eyebrows to all the way down her nose. After the surgery was complete, she posted a photo of her stitches online. She hopes the graphic photo will encourage others to protect their skin so they don’t go through what she did.