Rachel Maddow Reveals Cancer Diagnosis
- MSNBC host Rachel Maddow says she recently had surgery to remove skin cancer.
- Maddow thanked her partner of 22 years, Susan Mikula, for spotting a suspicious mole on the side of her face and encouraging her to seek medical attention.
- Maddow urged readers to get their skin checked, noting that “Even the most worrying forms of skin cancer, if you identify it early enough, it is now quite treatable.” Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.
Maddow, 48, thanked her partner of 22 years, Susan Mikula, for noticing a suspicious mole on the side of her face.Read More
“She poked me in the neck….kinda hard and she says ‘that mole has changed’,” recalls Maddow. “It’s like she was speaking Greek. I had no idea what she was talking about…but she was quite determined about it.”
Mikula then challenged Maddow to ask her hairdresser if she had noticed a change in the mole. When the hairdresser confirmed she had, Maddow sought medical attention.
She was diagnosed with skin cancer and had surgery on Friday at NYU Langone in New York. “They’re fantastic, they got all of it,” Maddow said. “I’m good. I have clear margins.” Maddow did not specify what type of skin cancer she has or what type of surgery she had.
Maddow urged viewers to take the time to get annual skin checks at the doctor.
“Even the most worrying forms of skin cancer, if you identify it early enough, it is now quite treatable,” she said. “Advances in the last few years have been leaps and bounds. …If you’ve got moles like I do, get checked. Get on a schedule with your doctor.”
Maddow admitted she had put off some routine medical check-ups.
“It’s only by the grace of Susan that I found mine in enough time that it was totally treatable, because I have been blowing off that stuff forever because I always assumed it would be fine,” she said.
Maddow joked that the lengthy public service announcement was just an introduction to her latest accessory.
“All of this is to say, I would like to introduce you to my Band-aid,” she said, noting that her surgeon said her incision may look like a facelift scar when it heals.
“So I’m definitely going to make a fake face lift face all the time when the time comes to remove the Band-aid,” she said. “The National Enquirer will do an expose about how I secretly got a facelift, but isn’t it weird because her face actually looks the same?”
Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Skin From Skin Cancer
How to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S., and you can lower your skin cancer risk by taking several easy prevention steps. In an earlier interview, dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman outlines five ways to protect your skin. She tells us:
- Avoid sun during peak hours. This means from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It doesn’t mean you should never go outside during the middle of the day, but make sure you’re protected when you do venture outdoors.
- Cover your skin and eyes. A wide brim hat and sunglasses will protect your face, the top of your head, your ears, and the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Wear an SPF of 30 or higher. Plenty of facial moisturizers have SPF built into them. Reapply often.
- Get an annual skin check. You can check your own skin for anything that looks out of the ordinary, but you should still get a yearly check to make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you do happen to notice anything out of the ordinary in between checks, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor about it ASAP — it is always worth it to make sure.
- Avoid tanning beds. “There’s absolutely no benefit to going to a tanning bed,” Dr. Engelman says.
Examining Your Skin: Remember ABCDE
Doing regular self-checks on your skin is important to find skin cancer early. If you’re high-risk, it’s especially vital. Dr. Cecilia Larocca, a dermatologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, recommends looking at your skin once a month for anything suspicious–and using the acronym ABCDE as a checklist:
Asymmetrical moles: if you drew a line straight down the center of the mole, would the sides match?
Borders: irregular, jagged, not smooth; 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, anything that is changing over time such as gaining color, losing color, painful, itching, hurting, changing shape, etc…
How to examine your skin