After being diagnosed with melanoma, Bethany Greenway is speaking out about the subtle symptoms that she missed, in order to warn others that skin cancer doesn't always manifest in the ways that you think it will.
"I had what I thought was a liver spot start growing on my forehead," Greenway told Today. "It looked no different than a giant freckle."
Since Greenway already had multiple freckles, she thought that her pregnancy hormones had just exacerbated them. However, in 2014, she noticed that a spot above her eye had grown a mole, and had begun to ache. Since her mother had melanoma, Greenway went in for a skin check, during which her dermatologist initially thought the spot was benign — but a biopsy subsequently revealed that it was cancerous.
Since then, Greenway began keeping a Facebook diary of sorts of her journey, sharing photos to update followers on her condition.
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Though many of the photos may be graphic in nature, Greenway felt it was important to post them to show people that "skin cancer is ugly."
Since her diagnosis, she has undergone two surgeries to remove the skin and underlying muscle around the spot, which left her with a large gash on her forehead. She has also undergone immunotherapy infusions and radiation on her head and neck, which she told Today left the inside of her mouth burnt, and "made food taste like poison."
"It makes me ill [to watch other people tan]," she told Today. "Please stop frying your skin."
While many of us probably have plans to tan on the beach or by the pool this summer, Greenway issues a good warning — any time that you spend out in the sun increases your risk for skin cancer.
"Please stop sun bathing and going to tanning salons," Greenway said. "A tan isn’t a healthy glow — it’s damaged skin."
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