Slick Woods Was Diagnosed With Melanoma in Her Early 20s
- Slick Woods, 26, is a model turned actor. Her most recent role is in the latest season of “Grown-ish.” You can watch the second half of this season when it premiers on Jan. 18, 2023.
- Woods is also a stage 3 melanoma warrior. She was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for her cancer, but decided to stop after neuropathy caused her lose control of movement in both legs and one arm. It’s unclear what the status of her health is today.
- Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in the same cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color. Ninety percent of melanomas are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun, so it’s important to protect your skin with things like sunscreen and clothing.
Woods, born as Simone Thompson, has modeled for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Ugg and Moschino. She was also handpicked by mentor and friend Rihanna for her Fenty Beauty brand. But the successful model turned actress started from very humble beginnings. In fact, it was British model Ash Stymest who kickstarted her career after discovering her at a bus stop in Los Angeles — the city where Woods struggled with homelessness and addiction.Read More
It’s unclear what the status of her cancer is today, but Woods has made a point to keep busy. And now the successful model has had made quite an acting career for herself.
She was the star of a film called Goldie by Dutch writer-director Sam de Jong in 2019, and now she’s in the latest season of the the Emmy-nominated “Black-ish” spinoff entitles “Grown-ish.” You can watch the second half of this season when it premiers on Jan. 18, 2023.
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“I thought somebody was punking me,” she said of her reaction to getting the part. “I thought Afrikaa [Afrikaa Johnson, Woods’ manager] got the wrong email.”
When asked if she was taking any acting tips for her friends for the role, Woods’ response was a simple no.
“I didn’t really have to ask for any pointers because my character is not only named Slick, it actually is me,” she said. “They gave me the leeway to switch up things and just kind of just… What’s the right way to say this? They would let me be me.
“I can’t even say it any other way. They’re just like, ‘Okay, this is our research, this is how we see you, but how do you see yourself?’ We kind of met in the middle of that and then got to move forward.”
Needless to say, cancer hasn’t slowed the mother of one down one bit. Still, her cancer journey has been anything but easy.
Slick Woods’ Cancer Treatment
Treatment for Woods’ stage of melanoma, which had spread to the lymph nodes, usually begins with surgery to remove the original tumor. From there, there are various treatment options including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies or radiation therapy.
“We watch patients very closely. They’re seen by their dermatologist. They’re seen by their surgeon,” Dr. Anna Pavlick, medical oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, told SurvivorNet. “Patients with stage three disease probably have a 50/50 chance of being OK with just a surgical resection. However, we now have brand new medicines, or immunotherapy medicines, that can significantly reduce their risk of this ever coming back.
“And many patients who have stage three disease are recommended to undergo preventive immunotherapy.”
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Woods underwent chemotherapy treatments for a time, but the side effects causes her to ditch the treatment altogether. Nerve damage caused debilitating neuropathy which led to her losing control of movement in both legs and one arm and she had to rely on a wheelchair for a time.
“It’s just not something I wish on anyone. I just got sicker, and I got weaker,” she said of her chemo.
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Melanoma can be fatal without treatment. So, the status of Woods’ health is unclear at the moment, but hopefully she’s found another treatment option that works for her.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in the same cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color. The American Cancer Society says the risk of melanoma increases as people age with the average age of diagnosis being 65, but the disease is not uncommon among those younger than 30. In fact, it’s one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
The disease can develop from an existing mole or appear as a dark or pink growth on the skin even in places on the body that never see the sun. It’s also known to be the deadliest form of skin cancer.
“Melanomas are the deadliest type of skin cancer because they have a tendency to spread to other parts of the body,” explains Dr. Anna Pavlick.
Paying Attention to Your Skin
Keeping an eye on the moles or growths on your skin is an easy way to keep an eye out for melanoma. Changes to a mole you’ve had for a while or developing a new growth you don’t remembering having on your skin could be signs of this cancer, according to SurvivorNet’s experts.
Dr. Cecilia Larocca of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute gives SurvivorNet an overview of things to look out for with moles using the ABCDE self-screening method:
- Asymmetrical moles: “If you drew a line straight down the center of the mole, would the sides match?”
- Borders that are “irregular, jagged, not smooth.” It can also stand for bleeding.
- Colors: “Multiple distinct colors in the mole.”
- Diameter: “Larger than 6mm, about the size of a pencil head eraser.”
- Evolution: “This may be the most important,” she says. “Anything that is changing over time such as gaining color, losing color, painful, itching, hurting, changing shape, etc.”
Spots on our skin are often harmless, but it’s still important to keep an eye on them and reach out to your doctor if you see any changes or find a growth anywhere on your skin that looks suspicious.
Protecting Yourself from Melanoma
Ninety percent of melanomas are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This means excessive time in the sun — even as a child — puts you at a higher risk.
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Dendy Engelman, from MDCS Dermatology in New York, shared the top five things you can do to avoid skin cancer:
- Avoid sun during peak hours, which is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect the tops of our heads, the tops of our ears and the delicate area around the eye.
- Wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen and make sure to reapply every two hours or after excessive sweating or swimming.
- Have yearly skin checks (with a professional), because it’s difficult to evaluate areas all over the body.
- Avoid tanning beds. There are no “good” tanning beds, and they can significantly increase your risk of melanoma.