Fionnghuala Maguire, a 35-year-old woman from West Belfast, has shared her harrowing experience with skin cancer, which she attributes to her long-term use of tanning beds. Maguire confessed to using tanning beds for over 15 years, sometimes as frequently as every day of the week, in her pursuit of a perfect tan.
Despite her mother’s warnings, who herself had been diagnosed with skin cancer and had several tumors removed, Maguire continued her tanning habit. She admitted to never using sunscreen during her tanning sessions. She started using tanning beds at the age of 14, when there were fewer age restrictions. She said that having a tan boosted her confidence.
However, in 2020, Maguire discovered a mole on her right leg. Given her family’s history of skin cancer, doctors decided to remove it promptly. Following the procedure, she was asked to return to the hospital where she was diagnosed with Stage 1 melanoma. A larger portion of her skin had to be removed, and another growth was found on her leg just three months later. This growth was also confirmed as cancerous, leading to Maguire undergoing immune-boosting treatment to combat the disease.
Unfortunately, Maguire experienced a severe reaction to the treatment, developing Addison’s disease when her adrenal glands ceased producing sufficient hormones. This led to a hospital visit in December 2021, when she felt as though she was on the brink of death. Her adrenal glands had stopped functioning, and she was immediately treated with a hydrocortisone steroid. A doctor informed her that if her cortisone levels had remained low for another day or two, she could have slipped into a coma and died.
Despite undergoing two more immunotherapy sessions in May 2022, Maguire developed capillary leak syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by a significant drop in blood pressure. Over the past two years, she has had five more suspicious moles removed from various parts of her body. She now sees her dermatologist every three months for full-body checks.
Reflecting on her health struggles, Maguire has expressed regret over her tanning addiction, stating that a tan is not worth the pain she has endured. She expressed anger at herself for using tanning beds and now advocates against their use. She also shared her fear that her desire for a tan might eventually lead to her death.
Maguire’s story comes at a time when reality TV star Kim Kardashian recently defended her use of a tanning bed in her office, claiming it helps her psoriasis.