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If This Mom’s Before & After Photos Don’t Scare You About Skin Cancer, Nothing Will
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Other5 years ago

If This Mom’s Before & After Photos Don’t Scare You About Skin Cancer, Nothing Will

This mom of two is on a mission to warn people about the realities of skin cancer with a shocking photo diary documenting her battle with melanoma.

Bethany Gambardella-Greenway, 39, from Austin, Texas discovered a dark spot on her skin while she was pregnant with her youngest child in 2015. She ignored it in the belief that it was something to do with hormonal changes, and when she finally got it checked out, the dermatologist reassured her that it wasn’t a cancer symptom. Eighteen months later, however, a painful mole appeared, and a biopsy revealed that it was, in fact, an aggressive form of skin cancer called desmoplastic melanoma. Doctors removed the mole and did a skin grafting procedure, but after learning that cancer had spread to her bones and lymph nodes, she started immunotherapy in October 2016.

“The radiation was absolutely the worst part of cancer treatment. It was hell plain and simple,” she said. “It fried the inside of my mouth. My throat was so sore. My skin was covered in sores; I lost my ability to taste the food, my voice was hoarse, at about week three my hair began to fall out on the treated area. By the time I was done with treatment I had lost about forty pounds because eating had become such a miserable chore. Now I am almost completely healed from the radiation which permanently damaged one saliva gland and altered my hairline.”

Bethany said she wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis because her mother also had melanoma at the same age, and even though she’s finished her treatment and is now in the all-clear, she’s encouraging other people to wear sunscreen so they don’t have to go through the same awful experience that she did. “Please stop sunbathing and going to tanning salons,” she says sharing her pictures of the skin cancer battle. “A tan isn’t a healthy glow — it’s damaged skin.” Wise words that everybody should pay attention to.

More info: Facebook

UPDATE: One of the photographs we previously used was incorrectly labeled as depicting Bethany in hospital for the birth of her second child. This picture was actually taken when Bethany was in the hospital having her appendix removed. Also, we’d just like to clarify that Bethany has never been a tanner and was always careful in the sun. Her story serves as a cautionary reminder for everybody, regardless of whether they like to sunbathe or not.

This mom of two is on a mission to warn people about the realities of skin cancer

Her shocking photo diary documents her battle with melanoma

Bethany Gambardella-Greenway discovered a dark spot on her skin while pregnant with her youngest child

When she finally got it checked out, the dermatologist reassured her that it was just a liver spot

18 months later however, a painful mole appeared

A biopsy revealed that it was in fact an aggressive form of skin cancer called desmoplastic melanoma

Doctors removed the mole, but after learning that the cancer had spread, she started immunotherapy

“The radiation was absolutely the worst part. It was hell plain and simple,” she said

“My skin was covered in sores, I lost my ability to taste food, my voice was hoarse”

“At about week three my hair began to fall out on the treated area”

“It fried the inside of my mouth. My throat was so sore”

“By the time I was done with treatment I had lost about forty pounds”

Bethany has finished her treatment and is now in the all-clear

Now she’s encouraging people to wear sunscreen so they don’t have to go through the same experience

“Please stop sun bathing and going to tanning salons,” she says

“A tan isn’t a healthy glow — it’s damaged skin”

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John L
Community Member
5 years ago

Word of caution. If you have light skin, are red headed, and get freckles easily, be very careful of the amount of sun exposure. Freckles are mutated skin cells, and sooner or later some of those mutations may well become malignant.

jamie1707
Community Member
5 years ago

red head here. It just so happens that I go to the doctor today to have stitches out from where they cut out some nasties (on the inside of my arm). So take john L's advice: if you have fare skin, are a red head, have freckles etc, please don't sun bathe. It's stupid

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Tiny Dynamine
Community Member
5 years ago

Seriously good advice about not going to tanning salons. They increase the risk of skin cancer by 75%. Look it up.

Lyndsay B
Community Member
5 years ago

It amazes me that people still go. Then again, people still smoke.

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Alusair Alustriel
Community Member
5 years ago

For me these photos are more striking than other cancer stories. Most often you see cancer results on peoples bodies, like hair out etc. Here I saw the actual cut, and how it damaged the face + results of theraphy. It's scary. Good I don't tan *shivers*. Best wishes for her and her family, happy she healed!!!

Cassie
Community Member
5 years ago

Don't just avoid tanning. Wear a brimmed hat everywhere you go. I wore sunscreen all the time growing up (I had a prescription for it as a child before higher spf was considered safe for an over-the-counter product) but I still have basil cell carcinoma on my face. I now have scars on my nose and forehead from having it removed. Protect yourself!

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John L
Community Member
5 years ago

Word of caution. If you have light skin, are red headed, and get freckles easily, be very careful of the amount of sun exposure. Freckles are mutated skin cells, and sooner or later some of those mutations may well become malignant.

jamie1707
Community Member
5 years ago

red head here. It just so happens that I go to the doctor today to have stitches out from where they cut out some nasties (on the inside of my arm). So take john L's advice: if you have fare skin, are a red head, have freckles etc, please don't sun bathe. It's stupid

Load More Replies...
Tiny Dynamine
Community Member
5 years ago

Seriously good advice about not going to tanning salons. They increase the risk of skin cancer by 75%. Look it up.

Lyndsay B
Community Member
5 years ago

It amazes me that people still go. Then again, people still smoke.

Load More Replies...
Alusair Alustriel
Community Member
5 years ago

For me these photos are more striking than other cancer stories. Most often you see cancer results on peoples bodies, like hair out etc. Here I saw the actual cut, and how it damaged the face + results of theraphy. It's scary. Good I don't tan *shivers*. Best wishes for her and her family, happy she healed!!!

Cassie
Community Member
5 years ago

Don't just avoid tanning. Wear a brimmed hat everywhere you go. I wore sunscreen all the time growing up (I had a prescription for it as a child before higher spf was considered safe for an over-the-counter product) but I still have basil cell carcinoma on my face. I now have scars on my nose and forehead from having it removed. Protect yourself!

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