An Australian woman claims she has been diagnosed with three different types of skin cancer since 2009 and shares her ‘brutal’ journey on TikTok.
“This is the true face of skin cancer,” Melissa Lewis, 48, declared in a viral clip as she showed off her bright red blistered skin after undergoing carbon dioxide laser photodynamic therapy.
It revealed that his eyes finally opened after being swollen shut, but they were still a bit blurry. She put a covering over her nose so she could wear her glasses.
“Everyone needs to protect their skin,” Lewis insisted. “A tan is not good for anyone. I wish I would have known that 30 years ago when we really didn’t know about solar safety.”
The mother of four recalled spending hours getting sunburned trying to get a tan as a child.
“Take care, everyone,” Lewis advised in the video, which has attracted 2.7 million views since it was posted in February.
Lewis later posted an update on TikTok to show how his skin was faring 10 days after the intense treatment.
It was still slightly pink, but clean of the peeling.
“It was a brutal week,” he captioned the clip.
“It’s still red, but oh my gosh. What a difference,” Lewis exclaimed. “But guess what, it’s still there.”
He explained that “skin cancer still lurks behind the surface” of his skin and that he still had “quite a few lesions” that needed a biopsy, but the treatment was showing promising results.
Lewis says he’ll need to undergo carbon dioxide laser photodynamic therapy once a year for the rest of his life, as it’s “the only way to keep skin cancer at bay.”
“Protect yourselves. Stay strong. Stay healthy,” she encouraged her viewers.
The Post has reached out to Lewis for comment.
The bespectacled redhead told the Daily Mail that her skin cancer never revealed itself through classic symptoms as a “dubious-looking mole”, instead appearing as flaky skin or an uneven complexion.
“I had melanoma and it didn’t look like it at all. In fact, it took two dermatologists to diagnose it. They needed to look at my face under a microscope to try to find it, ”he explained to the outlet.
She claims that dermatologists found lesions on her body between 2009 and 2018; she was later diagnosed with breast cancer, which caused her to take a year off from skin cancer treatments; and she nearly died of sepsis after a gynecological procedure gone wrong.
After a decade of traumatic medical conditions, it is skin cancer that haunts Lewis the most, prompting her to share her journey with others online.
She said doctors discovered basal cell carcinoma on the side of her nose, shoulder, and upper chest.
They also reportedly took a biopsy of a suspicious lesion on his forehead that turned out to be Bowen’s disease, an early form of skin cancer that is also known as squamous cell carcinoma.
Worse yet, the surgeons removed some melanoma from his ear, which had to be reconstructed.
“It was a complete shock because that word is synonymous with cancer, it is the upper level because a melanoma has gone to the deepest layer of the skin and is about to invade,” he explained.
“I was very lucky because they caught me during phase 0, it had not invaded the bloodstream yet.”
She says that yearly photodynamic therapy treatments help her maintain her health.
Daylight photodynamic therapy involves drugs called photosensitizing agents and light to kill cancer cells.
Lewis likens the procedure to “scraping the surface of the skin like sandpaper” to exfoliate it. The skin feels burned and peels for several days.
“It’s been a real journey and my confidence has been shaken because your face is how you present yourself to the world,” she admitted.
I just wish I had taken better care of her skin as a teenager and used sunscreen.
“Looking back now, if I could have a moment to push my younger self aside, I’d say, ‘Listen, what you’re doing now may be fun, but you’ll pay for it later. And it could cost him his life,’” Lewis said.