10 Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Skin Cancer Journeys

10 Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Skin Cancer Journeys featured image
Jamie McCarthy / Cindy Ord / Getty Images

May is an important month for spreading awareness for a lot of overlooked causes, from mental health to melanoma. While laying under the sun and soaking up UV rays was the trend for a while, we know now that any and all UV exposure can lead to potentially deadly skin cancers, and no one is exempt from the common ailment.

While some people shrug off the notion that you should be wearing (and re-applying) sunscreen daily, dermatologist and skin-health experts everywhere agree that applying SPF regularly and avoiding unnecessary sun exposure is the best thing you can do to prevent dangerous skin cancers and promote healthy skin aging. In the spirit of spreading awareness during Melanoma Awareness Month, here are 10 celebrities who have been candid about their skin-cancer journeys and the revelations it taught them about sun protection.

Celebrities Who Have Been Open About Their Skin-Cancer Journeys

1 / 10

Witney Carson

Witney Carson may be known for her incredible moves on the dance floor, but her experience with skin cancer at a very young age has also made her an important advocate for melanoma awareness. Carson was diagnosed with melanoma at 18 years old, after years of UV tanning bed use, and as the dancer told NewBeauty, “we’re so worried about looking a certain way that we don’t really think about the internal effects and the health effects. That’s exactly what I was doing—I just wanted to be tanned, I just wanted that look and I wasn’t educated enough on an alternative way.” Now, Carson has made it her mission—through partnerships with sunless tanning brands like Jergens—to educate today’s youth about the dangers of UV tanning and steer young dancers and beyond in the right direction.

Getty Images / Daniel Torok / Contributor
2 / 10

Harry Jowsey

Harry Jowsey—former star of Too Hot to Handle and Dancing with the Stars—has long been known for his carefree energy. But, he took his skin-cancer diagnosis last month very seriously, taking to TikTok to inform followers about his condition and urge them to practice more caution than he did. “Last week, I went to a dermatologist to get my skin checked and they found some skin cancer on me,” Jowsey explained to his TikTok followers. “I’m going to be all good, everything’s going to be okay. But I just wanted to make this post to let you know that summer’s around the corner. Please wear sunscreen.”

Getty Images / Steve Granitz / Contributor
3 / 10

Khloé Kardashian

Khloé Kardashian’s skin-cancer diagnosis was a frightening one, as the star shared both on social media and on The Kardashians that she had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the “rare,” cancerous tumor from her face. “After noticing a small bump on my face and assuming it was something as minor as a zit, I decided to get it biopsied 7 months after realizing it was not budging,” Khloé shared on Instagram. “Dermatologist Dr. Tess Mauricio (@drtessmauricio) examined it, and a second biopsy was ran by Dr. Daniel Behroozan (@drdanbehroozan) because what they both were seeing was incredibly rare for someone my age.” The star continued on to reveal that upon learning that she needed immediate surgery to remove the tumor she turned to “none other that Dr. Garth Fisher, a dear friend of my family’s and one of the best surgeons in Beverly Hills, who I knew would take incredible care of my face.”

Getty Images / Taylor Hill / Contributor
4 / 10

Hugh Jackman

Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman was first diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013, and in the decade since has undergone more than five procedures related to the diagnosis. Last April, Jackman took to TikTok to share with viewers that he was awaiting yet another biopsy result for a potential skin cancer spot on his nose. “Just to remind you, basal cell in the world of skin cancers is the least dangerous of them all,” Jackman said in the video, “However, if I can just take this opportunity to remind you summer is coming for those of us here in the northern hemisphere. Please wear sunscreen.” Jackman admitted that, growing up in Australia, he spent a lot of time in the sun unprotected, and urges viewers not to make the same mistake. “It’s just not worth it. No matter how much you want to tan, trust me, trust me, trust me. This is all stuff that happened 25 years ago—it’s coming out now.”

Hugh Jackman met gala 2024
Jamie McCarthy / Staff / Getty Images
5 / 10

Andy Cohen

TV show host and Bravo icon, Andy Cohen, used his personal journey with skin cancer to inspire a partnership with iconic SPF brand EltaMD last May, in hopes of inspiring viewers to take skin health more seriously. As part of the partnership, Cohen posted an Instagram video explaining his own experience with skin cancer, noting that, “I had a little brown dot right there [points just below his bottom lip] for a while that I thought nothing of. My pal Kelly Ripa noticed it and said, ‘You have to get that checked out immediately; it looks like skin cancer.’ And guess what? She was right. I had a malignant melanoma, which I had removed.” Continuing on, Cohen explained that, “It totally changed the way that I view my skin and protect my skin. So to remind you to think about your skin, I am partnering with EltaMD on a really cool project that involves me showing my skin. I can’t believe I’m doing this. What I’m using are these two products. The first one is this UV Clear for the face, and what I like about this one is that it’s got a little bit of a tint—I love a tint. The other one is for the body—it’s the mist [the brand-new UV AOX Mist SPF 40]. One in five Americans gets skin cancer. You’ve gotta protect your skin. I am so serious about this.”

Getty Images / Bravo / Contributor
6 / 10

Diane Keaton

Like Carson, Keaton’s experience with skin cancer started at a young age, with her first basal cell carcinoma diagnosis at age 21 and later a squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis that took two surgeries to remove. Keaton told the LA Times that, despite the early diagnoses, she didn’t take sun protection seriously until her 40s. “It’s a family history,” Keaton told the outlet. “I remember my Auntie Martha had skin cancer so bad they removed her nose. My father had basal skin cancer and my brother had it. It’s tricky with this skin cancer. That’s why you’ve got to put the sunblock on.” Nowadays, Keaton keeps SPF on her and reapplies religiously, but that wasn’t always the case. “Back in my 20s I didn’t pay attention much,” she told the LA Times. “I didn’t research and didn’t really care and that was stupid because it’s dogged me my entire adult life, even recently. I didn’t start sun care until my 40s.”

Dave Benett/Contributor/Getty Images
7 / 10

Brooke Shields

Back in 2021, Brooke Shields sat down with NewBeauty to talk all things skin health and skin cancer, including how she found out that she herself was afflicted. “It was actually pre-cancer, which was discovered during my annual skin exam,” she told NewBeauty, “I get annual mole checks and so do my kids and husbands. My doctor noticed something on the top of my upper lip, and because I had been going in annually, she knew the difference and she was able to chart it. I was quite shocked. I had noticed something, but I did not attribute it to skin cancer. I thought my lips were just chapped, but it kept showing itself as a sore almost, and it was persistent.” Like many of her generation, Shields’ pre-cancer was likely a result of inadequate sun protection as a teen. “What was surprising to me is that she said it probably came from damage done years and years ago,” she said, ‘The way I grew up, you put tinfoil on an LP and then you put baby oil all over you and you went outside and baked in the sun. It wasn’t until I got older that I started religiously using sunscreen.”

Getty Images / JC Olivera / Stringer
8 / 10

Ewan McGregor

Back in 2008, Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor shared his skin-cancer scare story in an interview with BBC. “I had a little skin cancer under my eye,” told the British outlet. “I just went to have them [two moles] checked… I went to to see a specialist who thought they were better to be removed and indeed he was correct.” Luckily, McGregor’s experience was relatively quick and painless: “It’s all good now. But it was something that was best to be looked at and kept in check,” he said.

Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff
9 / 10

Anderson Cooper

While he planned to keep the procedures under the radar, Cooper’s lingering stitches after a surgery to remove a cancerous mole under his eye in 2011 led to his public admission about his skin-cancer treatment. While there was no indication that the cancer had spread anywhere outside the mole, per one of Cooper’s spokesperson’s statements, the CNN star had to get in front of the camera just two days after the procedure, explaining to viewers that, “I hadn’t planned on mentioning this, but I still have stitches and you’ll no doubt notice them. … Don’t want you to think I got into a fistfight with Charlie Rose.”

Getty Images / Randy Brooke / Contributor
10 / 10

Richard Simmons

One of the more recent skin-cancer diagnoses in Hollywood, fitness guru and 80s legend Richard Simmons admitted this past March that he had undergone treatment for skin cancer. After noticing a “strange looking lump” under his right eye, Simmons consulted his dermatologist and found out he did, in fact, have skin cancer. “He explained that he has to burn my skin to remove the cancer cells. There was no numbing it just had to be done with a small instrument,” Simmons shared on Facebook, “As he started burning my skin a tear dropped down my cheek. You can’t cry during this and he wiped my tear. The burning really hurt my skin. It lasted about 30 minutes.”

Getty Images / Gregg DeGuire / Contributor

Related Posts

Find a Doctor

Find a NewBeauty "Top Beauty Doctor" Near you

Give the Gift of Luxury

NewBeauty uses cookies for various reasons, including to analyze and improve its content and advertising. Please review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more about how we use this data. By continuing to use this site, you agree to these policies.