Mom addicted to tanning beds loses left ear after developing melanoma
A mom who was addicted to tanning beds has lost her left ear after developing melanoma.
Forty-four-year-old Anthea Smith from Bolton opened up about the condition to the BBC, explaining how ashamed she was of the amputation because it was self-inflicted: "The guilt I feel for my husband and my children really, that this… was self-inflicted.
"I was addicted to having a tan and being tanned. Predominantly it was sunbeds because it was quicker and the results were faster."
Smith explained that she began to use tanning beds when she was just 14 years old, and it wasn't long before her love of bronzed skin turned into an addiction.
Then, in 2015, she developed a black growth on her ear which turned out to be stage 3C melanoma.
The mother, who said she had "no level of knowledge about the dangers" of sunbeds, was then forced to have two operations to remove the growth and, with it, her left ear.
This included the entirety of her outer and inner ear, lymph nodes, tragus, salivary glands, leaving her with just her exposed eardrum, something which, understandably, caused her a great deal of stress.
While Anthea has had cosmetic surgery since the event, she is now deaf in her left ear and suffers from chronic balance issues. Not only this, she is at risk of cancer one day returning despite the surgery.
She has shared her story in the hope that it will deter others from using sunbeds, telling the BBC: "Nobody should have to live with what I'm living with, all for a tan."
As per Cancer Research UK, cases of skin melanoma have doubled since the early 1990s, with around 16,000 cases being diagnosed each year.
Now, the cancer charity Melanoma UK is campaigning for sunbeds to be banned, something which has already happened in Australia and Brazil.