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Girl Smarts This reality star just posted a butt-cheek selfie for a very serious reason

"I'll be fine because my faith is strong and my ass ain't bad either."

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At first glance, Tamra Judge's recent Instagram selfie may have just seemed like a ~*cheeky*~ nod to the Real Housewives of Orange County star's hard work at the gym.

But in her caption, Tamra reveals that while she does "work hard for this booty," that's not the point of this particular post. 

Tamra says that the small mark you can see on her butt cheek in the photo is actually a melanoma. She explains that the recent diagnosis may prevent her from participating in an upcoming bodybuilding competition. But, luckily, she says her dermatologist caught her cancer early. "I'll be fine because my faith is strong and my ass ain't bad either," she writes, followed by a laughing emoji.

 

Now, Tamra is using her diagnosis as an opportunity to educate other women. "I'm showing you this picture because this is what melanoma looks like," she wrote in the caption. "I don't want sympathy, I want you to save YOUR ass and get your skin checked. This was just a small black flat freckle... I had no idea!"

Hooman Khorasani M.D., Chief of the Division of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells WomensHealthMag.com that roughly half of all melanomas come from pre-existing moles or freckles. So it's important to track any changes you see.

"We always talk about ABCDE for melanoma," he explains. "A stands for asymmetry. The right side and the left side of a mole should roughly match. B stands for border, you want to make sure the border is smooth and there is no irregularities or jagged border. C stands for color, you want to make sure there is a uniform color throughout the mole. D is for diameter—anything larger than about the width of your pinky, pay a bit more attention. And E stands for evolving. You want to make sure nothing is changing with a mole, that it's not bleeding, scabbing, hurting, or itching."

If you have any worries, Khorasani recommends talking to your dermatologist as soon as possible. If your doctor is concerned about a mole or mark, they will likely do a biopsy—typically an in-office procedure. Melanomas have an excellent cure rate when caught early, but prevention is incredibly important.

"Don't get a bad sunburn," Khorasani advises. "Avoid tanning beds, and make sure you wear sunscreen when you are outdoors even if it's overcast. Use protective clothing. And of course, if you have lots of moles and freckles, do self-checks for skin cancer and go to a dermatologist on an annual basis for a total body skin exam."

If you have a history of melanoma in the family or have many moles and freckles, it may be worth getting an exam twice a year or more. Ask your doctor what they recommend.

As for Tamra, she signs off noting that celebrating her 50th birthday in Cabo this year is "not sounding like a good idea right now." Kudos to Tamra for raising awareness about melanoma. 

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