Rebekah Rupp, of Oklahoma, said she would visit the tanning booth up to six times a week at the height of her tanning obsession, but in 2018 she noticed a spot on her cheek
The spot on her cheek wasn’t as concerning to her dermatologist as a white spot on her nose, which 41-year-old Rupp hadn’t thought anything of.
“As soon as I went in for the dark spot, the dermatologist spotted a white-looking mole on the tip of my nose,” Rupp, a teacher, told MDW Features. “He asked me how long I had it; it had only been there for about two months or so, I thought it was just a pimple that wouldn’t go away.”
Rupp said her dermatologist removed it and sent it for a biopsy, which revealed that it was cancerous. She was then sent for Mohs surgery and left with a gaping hole in her nose, which required taking a flap of skin from her forehead to repair.
Rupp — who said she knew the dangers of tanning but “loved” how it made her feel, and also said her hobby “relaxed” her and “made me feel pretty” — now works for a skincare company and is urging others to take better care of their skin.
“I was a diehard tanning bed tanner,” she told MDW Features. “In my earlier years, I tanned at least five to six times a week. I was told by others it was bad for me, but until it happened to me – I never listened.”
Several health organizations have declared ultraviolet radiation from the sun and artificial sources to be a known carcinogen. It has been found to be a cause of melanoma and increase the risk of a benign mole progressing to melanoma. Researchers also estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year.