13 Celebrities Who Have Had Skin Cancer
Famous faces of skin cancer
Money, talent, fame, nor beauty can protect against skin cancer–the most common cancer in the U.S. Celebs, like the rest of us, must save their skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Being diagnosed with skin cancer can be a life-altering experience, leading to greater vigilance, including stepped-up sun protection and frequent skin checks. Here’s how people in the spotlight have dealt with their own skin cancer scares.
In August 2017, Real Housewives of Orange County’s Tamra Judge flashed her left butt cheek on Instagram, driving home an important message: “I’m showing you this picture because this is what melanoma looks like. 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!”
Frankel had Mohs surgery to remove a small growth on her face. Her doctor later confirmed that it was basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.
“I am extremely lucky to have caught it in time, and it just goes to show you have to know your body and be very aware of any changes,” she told People. “This was a sharp reminder why it is so important that I religiously wear large hats to cover my face and reapply sunscreen.”
RELATED: What Skin Cancer Looks Like
While filming X-Men: Days of Future Past, a speck of blood appeared on actor Hugh Jackman’s nose. He thought maybe he’d nicked himself. His wife told him to get it checked out. The diagnosis? Basal cell carcinoma.
Since then, the Australian has been treated for multiple skin cancers. He revealed his latest diagnosis in an Instagram pic of his bandaged nose in February 2017.
Jackman truly has “skin in the game,” so to speak. Not only does he get regular skin checks, but he’s involved in a U.S.-based company that makes an affordable children’s sunscreen, called Pure Sun Defense, with packaging featuring kids’ favorite motion picture cartoon characters.
Days after Witney Carson learned that she made the cast of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, the dancer received some devastating news from her dermatologist about a small mole on her foot.
“It was regular size, but it was strawberry colored,” she told Daily Burn. Her doctor sent a sample off to the lab. The diagnosis came back: melanoma.
It was a dramatic turn of events. “I’m so excited. This is finally my chance to express my passion, and then I get this heartbreaking news that I have cancer,” she said.
Post-surgery, Carson’s foot bears a large scar that serves as a reminder of “this trial that I went through and the triumph that I had after that.”
As a swimmer for Team USA, Summer Sanders brought home four medals, including two gold, from the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona. But she never used sunscreen while training, she told ABC News Radio.
Years later, Sanders was diagnosed with stage 1 melanoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Following surgery in 2014, two more melanomas were diagnosed.
Says the sports commentator, “I thought I was one of those people who would never get skin cancer. I was wrong.”
Sanders now speaks out on skin cancer awareness and takes multiple precautions to protect herself and her family from the sun. Joking with her kids, she says, “You're so lucky that mom got melanoma because you’re never getting a sunburn in your life,” reports ABC Radio.
On June 4, 2017, Jimmie Johnson, one of NASCAR’s elite, nabbed his 83rd career win behind the wheel. One day later, the racing champion reassured and cautioned his fans with this tweet: “Wear sunblock kids. I’ve spent the morning on a table having Basal Cell Carcinoma cut out of my shoulder.” His cancer is a common one, affecting the deepest layer of the epidermis.
You may think fondly of this Oscar nominee and Golden Globe-winning actress as the spunky lead in the 1988 romantic comedy Working Girl or know her better as the mom of Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson. But what many people may not know is that Griffith is also a repeat skin cancer survivor.
Reporting in September 2017, US Weekly said Griffith underwent surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from her nose. And, in December 2009, a representative of the actress confirmed that she had surgery to remove the early stages of skin cancer from her face.
In August 2016, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star disclosed her skin cancer scare in posts on her website and app. "I have moles everywhere, and a couple years ago, I noticed one growing under my breast,” she explained.
A biopsy revealed it was benign. But in a subsequent checkup, doctors discovered skin cancer in a concerning mole on her back. “I had 8 inches of skin removed. It was definitely painful because it was a lot of skin, but most of the time, the removals haven’t been that bad,” Kardashian told her followers.
Khloé isn't the only member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan to have had a skin scare.
Caitlyn Jenner recently shared a makeup-free Instagram photo of herself, exposing the red, raw tip of her nose. “I recently had to get some sun damage removed from my nose," she captioned the pic. "PSA–always wear your sunblock."
People confirmed that Jenner had cancerous basal cell carcinoma removed from her nose.
In May 2014, country music legend Kenny Rogers posted a picture of his bandaged face on Instagram quipping, “but you should see the other guy!”
The three-time Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee announced to the world that he had “a bit of skin cancer removed” and urged everyone to “go get checked.”
This tough-as-nails senator appears unbowed by threats to his health–even multiple bouts of melanoma. McCain’s first brush with this potentially deadly form of skin cancer occurred in 1993. Six months passed between the time a doctor recommended that he see a dermatologist and when he sought care, the New York Times reported.
So when other suspicious moles later appeared, the Arizona Republican acted quickly. In 2000, he had surgery to remove two melanomas and lymph nodes in his head and neck, the Times reported. His last melanoma was in 2002. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, in 2017.
As a national investigative correspondent for NBC, Jeff Rossen helps consumers deal with life’s challenges. Recently, he revealed one of his own. In his book, Rossen To the Rescue: Secrets to Avoiding Scams, Everyday Danger, and Major Catastrophes, the Emmy-winning journalist opened up about his skin cancer diagnosis.
“I was diagnosed with melanoma,” Rossen told Today show host Matt Lauer. “Scared me as a dad.”
Rossen’s diagnosis led to a special report that aired in 2012. While people may pay more for sunscreens boasting a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 70, 80, 100 or higher, there’s no evidence they provide better protection than an SPF 50, he reported.
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Singer-songwriter Bob Marley introduced reggae music to the world, earning him induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame decades after his death from melanoma in 1981 at the age of 36.
His cancer first appeared as a dark spot under his toenail. Doctors suggested amputating the toe, but Marley refused surgery on religious grounds, Biography.com reports. The cancer eventually spread throughout his body. The Skin Cancer Foundation says Marley’s tragic death serves as a reminder that people of all skin colors need to be aware of skin changes.