A Skin Cancer Advocate Defends Herself
- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Teddi Mellencamp, 40, is defending her choice of having a neck lift procedure as she gets trolled on the internet, which is no surprise these days.
- The skin cancer survivor, who is the daughter of music legend John Mellencamp, defended her choice, saying that she was insecure about that area of her body, and says at least she was transparent about it.
- Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S., and you can protect yourself and lower your skin cancer risk by taking simple prevention steps: Wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and applying it frequently, getting annual skin checks, and avoiding the sun at peak hours or all together can be wise choices, especially for those with more sensitive skin.
The skin cancer survivor, who is the daughter of music legend John Mellencamp, then raised a valid point, asking followers if it was better if she had lied about it.Read More
While some could argue—and frequently do—that people having these types of procedures are not role models for young girls out there, the TV star admitting her insecurities and telling the truth is honorable. As Mellencamp mentioned, social media is full of overly-filtered faces and bodies that look starkly different in real life.
Bottom line is that we have a right to do whatever makes us feel better about ourselves, and being honest about it goes a long way. Furthermore, Mellencamp gets major points for raising awareness about skin cancer, which is far more important.
The Encino, Calif.-based actress recently received some good news about a cancerous mole that was removed from her shoulder. The mole had previously been identified as melanoma, a serious and aggressive form of skin cancer, but Mellencamp had been waiting to get the test results showing how far it had advanced. Thankfully, her worries were put to rest.
“Got my results back and it’s good news: melanoma in situ which means the cancer cells were contained in that area of my skin and have not spread any deeper! I feel blessed and relieved but also grateful to have diligent friends and doctors to watch out for me,” Mellencamp shared via Instagram.
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“I’ll now need to have 3-month checkups, while always making sure to wear sunscreen (a given, I know!) and protective clothing,” she continued. “I really hope that in sharing all of this, I can encourage all of you to get your skin checked annually— if I hadn’t gone in, I don’t want to think about how it could have gone differently. Our skin is something a lot of us take for granted but not me anymore— and I hope not you either #melanomaawareness.”
Also known as “stage zero,” a melanoma in situ is the earliest stage of the extremely deadly cancer. If caught at this stage, the cancerous mole has not spread and can easily be completely removed. Thankfully, the wife and mother is proactive about her health and caught her cancer just in time.
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Mellencamp has been married to Colombian-born COO Edwin Arroyave, 44, since 2011. They have three children together: Slate, 11, Cruz, 7, and Dove, age 2. Mellencamp is also a stepmother to Arroyave’s daughter Isabella, 13, from a previous relationship.
Understanding Early Stage Melanoma
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S. Skin cancer treatments include surgery, and sometimes chemotherapy or radiation. This year, there will be approximately 99,780 new melanomas diagnosed in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Testing, like the kind Teddi Mellencamp underwent, remains crucial for screening for this disease.
Dr. Anna Pavlick, an oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, explains in an earlier interview the procedure for removing a stage one melanoma. She says, “For patients who have stage 1 melanoma, the excision is done by the dermatologist. It’s a local procedure,” she says. “You don’t need to be hospitalized for it. The first thing that we do always is to clean off the skin. Clean off the area with some betadine or a cleanser that will sterilize that area and get rid of the bacteria.”
Dr. Pavlick explains, “We will then inject lidocaine or a local anesthetic that will numb up that area. The dermatologist will then take a scalpel, and cut an ellipse or a circle around that area, making sure that they get enough skin around it, as well as underneath that lesion, and then put in some sutures or some stitches.”
Teddi Mellencamp Advocates Sunscreen; Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer
Protecting your skin by wearing sunscreen, as Mellencamp says, and getting skin checks is so important. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the U.S., and you can protect yourself and lower your skin cancer risk by taking prevention steps.
In an earlier interview, dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman outlines five easy ways to protect your skin, and lower your skin cancer risk. 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 sun glasses 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.
Contributing by SurvivorNet staff.