As the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Season 9 reunion airs on Bravo, we see Camille Grammer, 50, acting as fiery as ever. Incredibly, the headstrong TV personality (who is now “Camille Meyer” since her second marriage in 2018) is a two-time cancer survivor.
It was 2013 when Camille received her first cancer diagnosis: stage II endometrial cancer.READ MORE
Fortunately, Grammer’s cancer was diagnosed relatively early, and the treatment she received was enough to put her into remission.
But cancer wasn’t a one-and-done deal for Camille; in 2017, she received another diagnosis—this one for a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Again, the cancer was found early, and Camille underwent surgery to remove the malignant cells before they could spread to other parts of her body.
“[Squamous cell carcinoma] isn’t an aggressive cancer,” Camille told People shortly after her surgery in 2017, “But if it goes undetected, it could spread and metastasize to the lymph nodes and other organs close to the area. I’m lucky we found it early.”
After her surgery to remove her cancer, Camille posted an Instagram photo from her hospital bed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In the photo, Camille is smiling next to her doctor, Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist now with UCLA Medical Center who has spoken at-length with SurvivorNet about gynecologic cancers and the importance of paying attention to your body.
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Thank you Dr. Beth karlan for removing those pesky cancer cells. You are Amazing! This is my second cancer diagnoses. Thank God We found it early. (squamous cell carcinoma) *Early detection is key. My cancer was removed and I’m resting at home. Ladies listen to your bodies. If something doesn’t seem right go for a checkup. Don’t put it off. Annual check ups are important. @cedarssinai @foundationforwomenscancer #cancerwarrior #cancer #cancerawerness. ♥️THANK YOU EVERYONE for you kind words, support and prayers!
As a caption to her Instagram post, Camille Grammer wrote, “Thank you Dr. Beth Karlan for removing those pesky cancer cells. You are amazing!” She then explained her cancer diagnoses and added, “Ladies listen to your bodies. If something doesn’t seem right, go for a checkup. Don’t put it off.”
The “RHOBH” star’s words echo those of Dr. Karlan, who told SurvivorNet, “If your doctor says, ‘I don’t think you need to have anything done, this is all in your head,’… go in for a second opinion.” Dr. Karlan shared this advice in the context of ovarian cancer (which is not one of the cancers Camille Grammer had), but the idea applies to all cancers: be persistent; listen to your body.
“Lifting the Veil of Shame”
Now a two-time cancer survivor, Camille knows first hand that lifesaving early detection has everything to do with listening to your body—and being proactive when something doesn’t look or feel right.
When it comes to skin cancer, Camille said, “Many people will ignore something like this. They’ll think, ‘Oh, it’s a mole, it’s a pimple, it’s a rash, it’s an ingrown hair from shaving.”
And when skin cancers appear in the genital region—as it did for Camille—some people might be embarrassed or hesitant to raise the concern to their doctor. But now, as a spokesperson for cancer awareness, a big part of Camille’s prerogative has been “lifting the veil of shame” from below-the-belt cancers, according to People.
“When anything comes up on our bodies—if it’s skin cancer or a bump or something we’re not certain of—we need to see our doctors. Go in, make an appointment, see our physicians, and don’t ignore these symptoms.”
Know Your History—And Cancer Risk
Camille’s two bouts with cancer weren’t just bad luck; the star has publicly shared that her maternal grandmother was diagnosed with endometrial cancer when she was 47, and then ultimately died of colon and stomach cancer. Years later, Camille’s mother was then diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer.
Given her family’s cancer history, Camille knew there was a strong possibility she carried genes that could put her at an increased risk for cancer, too, so she went in for genetic testing and discovered she had inherited Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition that can be inherited from either the mother or the father. Lynch Syndrome can significantly increase someone’s risk of developing colon cancer, and has also been connected with an increased risk for endometrial cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, small bowel (intestinal) cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, urinary tract cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and bile duct cancers.
When Camille learned that she had Lynch syndrome, her doctors suggested she might have a preventative hysterectomy to eliminate her risk for developing ovarian or endometrial cancer, the star said in an interview with Everyday Health. But Camille was only 35 at the time, and because removing the reproductive organs at an early age can lead to early menopause, Camille said, “I wasn’t ready for that.”
Staying On Top of Screenings
Instead of opting for the surgery at the time, Camille decided to take a surveillance approach, going in for routine tests such as breast exams, pap smears, endoscopies, colonoscopies, and CT scans.
It was through one of these routine tests that Camille’s endometrial cancer was ultimately found.
“I should have had the [preventative] hysterectomy, but I pushed it aside,” Camille told Everyday Health. “It’s so true that hindsight is 20/20.”