After numerous years of frequenting tanning beds and sunbathing, 35-year-old Kari Cummins finally decided to visit a dermatologist. Other than a few scabs on her face and a mark on her chin, which, according to metro.co.uk, Cummins thought was an “underground blackhead,” she thought she would be in the clear. But the visit, which she chalked up as a routine skin-check, ended up saving her life.
After numerous tests to this growth on her chin—it looked like a raised bump beneath her skin—her doctors found that it was squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that could have spread to her organs if left untreated. “I assumed it was a blackhead or a weird type of adult acne, as I hadn’t seen anything like that before,” Cummins says.
You May Also Like: Here’s Why You Can’t Ignore What Your Body Is Telling You
The growths have since been removed, but the California native was left with a hole the size of a quarter in her chin, which required 35 stitches to close up. There is a slight scar left behind (you can view photos of her journey here), but Cummins is using it as a platform. “At first, I felt very self-conscious, but now I find it empowering as I can use my experiences to share my story in the hope of urging others that it is so important to look after your skin.”
An important lesson she’s learned (and one she hopes to pass on): Stay away from tanning beds. “I wasn’t a frequent user, and only used them occasionally, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t take much for the UV rays to accelerate the growth of the carcinoma, especially if you have fair skin.”
Since her initial visit, she has noticed a few more raised lumps on her forehead. After biopsies have been performed, it’s been confirmed that these, too, will have to be removed. “It just shows that this can happen to anyone; unfortunately I neglected my skin and now I am facing the consequences.”
To ward off harmful rays, always apply SPF if you plan on being exposed to the sun at all, whether for a brief period time or for hours on end. If you see a spot, lump or mark that you think looks unusual, ask your doctor to check it. You can never be too careful, and prevention is always key.
Find a Doctor
Find a NewBeauty "Top Beauty Doctor" Near you