Sun & Skin News

Celebrities and Skin Cancer – They’re Just Like Us

By Ali Venosa • January 11, 2024
Hollywood sign

Celebrities like Jimmy Buffett, Hugh Jackman, Khloe Kardashian, Bob Marley, Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave and Terry Bradshaw have all battled skin cancer.

US Weekly is famous for its “Stars – They’re Just Like Us” feature. The column includes photos of celebrities in their daily lives, being “normal” people. They catch them in the act of everyday tasks like grocery shopping, eating pizza and, gasp, even pumping their own gas!

Given the prevalence of skin cancer in the United States, it’s not surprising that so many celebrities have had the disease. In fact, one out of every five Americans is going to get skin cancer. In our very own “Just Like Us” feature, we’re sharing about celebrities you may not realize have had the world’s most common cancer.

Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT.

Jimmy Buffett
Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett battled Merkel cell carcinoma — a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer — for four years prior to passing away in September 2023. Buffett, best known for his hits “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” continued to perform throughout treatment for the disease before his death at age 76. Merkel cell carcinoma has a high risk of metastasizing (spreading) within two to three years after the initial diagnosis, and only about 3,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year.

Terry Bradshaw
In the fall of 2022, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw revealed during a Fox NFL Sunday broadcast that he had battled two forms of cancer in the past year — bladder cancer and skin cancer. Bradshaw discovered a tumor on his neck that turned out to be Merkel cell carcinoma. He received treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and told the audience that he was fortunately now “cancer free and feeling great.”

Witney Carson
The “Dancing with the Stars” phenom was just 22 years of age when she discovered a melanoma on her foot. Carson, whose father had melanoma, has been vocal in advocating for regular skin exams and the importance of early detection. In 2016, she shared her powerful story at our Champions for Change Gala in New York City.

Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave

In December 2023, the reality star shared an Instagram post revealing a scar from a recent surgery to remove a melanoma. Doctors diagnosed this latest skin cancer — her 13th — less than a year after an October 2022 battle with stage II melanoma, and the removal of a suspicious mole earlier the same year. 

 “I have been debating about whether to publicly talk about this, but then I remember that every time I post about skin cancer, someone else is reminded to get checked,” Mellencamp Arroyave shared in an earlier post. 

Mellencamp Arroyave has explained how past habits including tanning, never wearing sunscreen and not getting her skin checked may have contributed to her diagnosis. She called her skin cancer experience a “wake up call” and urged her fans to love and protect their skin. “Please get your skin checked. I promise you do not want to go through this.” 

Sam Champion
Award-winning weather anchor Sam Champion was diagnosed with his first skin cancer while still in his 20s, an experience he blames on his younger years of tanning. Since then, he’s had multiple surgeries to remove suspicious moles and one confirmed basal cell carcinoma. Champion underwent surgery live-on-the-air in an effort to educate people about the consequences of unprotected sun exposure.

Since his skin cancer scare, he has consistently urged viewers to slather on sunscreen and get their skin checked. He’s even hosted the Skin Cancer Foundation’s annual gala more than once!

Anderson Cooper
While covering the 2008 election, the popular journalist made headlines when he appeared on the air with a black eye and bandage. Cooper warned viewers before the broadcast that he had a minor procedure to remove a skin cancer that luckily hadn’t spread.

Melanie Griffith
Several years ago, the American actress caused concern among fans when she was spotted with a black eye. She later revealed that this was the result of a skin cancer removal procedure.

Hugh Jackmanjackman_skincancer
Perhaps best known for his portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men movies, the Australian actor publicly shared his skin cancer struggles with fans. Jackman has had several skin cancers removed in recent years and regularly takes to social media to remind his fans of the importance of sun protection and regular skin exams. 

Diane Keaton
The Oscar-winning actress was diagnosed with the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), at the young age of 21. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with the second most common form of the disease, squamous cell carcinoma. Keaton encourages her fans to practice proper sun protection and has spoken openly about her family’s history with the disease (both her father and brother have had BCCs removed).

Khloe Kardashian
The reality star has been vocal about her skin cancer experiences. In a 2017 meeting with Hollywood medium Tyler Henry, she reported that she has had two skin cancers removed (one of which was a melanoma on her back) and that she gets skin exams every three months.

In October 2022, Kardashian revealed that she had another tumor removed from her face. While she did not disclose which type of skin cancer she was diagnosed with, Kardashian said her doctors mentioned that the tumor was “incredibly rare” for someone her age.

Kardashian has shared the ABCDEs with her social media followers and encourages regular skin checks.

Donal Logue
donal-logue-skin-cancerThe actor, producer and writer who starred in “Sons of Anarchy” and “Vikings” was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma on his forehead in 2014. While his doctor successfully removed the cancer after two rounds of surgery, the actor has said that he is at very high risk of another. In reflecting on the experience Logue said: “Today, when I check my face in the mirror for new growths, I wish I could shake that young boy I once was, running around under the hot, desert sun without protection, for doing such ineradicable damage to his future skin.”

Andy Cohen
In November 2016, the popular talk show host, author and producer announced he had a melanoma on his lip removed after celebrity friend Kelly Ripa had urged him to have a suspicious spot checked out. The former self-proclaimed “tanorexic” has said the experience changed his relationship with the sun.

bob-marley-skin-cancerBob Marley
When a dark spot appeared under the Jamaican musician’s toenail, Marley attributed it to a recent soccer injury. The spot turned out to be a form of skin cancer called acral lentiginous melanoma that often becomes aggressive because it is detected later than other melanomas. The loss of this legend serves as a powerful reminder that anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, can be affected by skin cancer.

Ewan McGregor
The Scottish-born actor caused quite a stir in 2008 when he had a birthmark removed from his forehead, leading to speculation that he had a cosmetic procedure done. McGregor later set the record straight and explained that his doctor removed several suspicious lesions for testing. One, below the actor’s eye, was indeed skin cancer.

Bret Michaels

The singer and musician has dealt with multiple skin cancers, the most recent of which he had removed in October 2023. Michaels, best known as the frontman of Poison, previously had a skin cancer removed in 2020 and returned to the doctor’s office after losing a fellow performer to the disease. 

“With the recent passing of my friend Jimmy Buffett, I decided it was time for a more recent check up of something I thought was nothing,” Michaels said in an Instagram post. “Turns out, it was something.” 

The singer praised his doctor for quickly identifying and treating the skin cancer, noting that it may have saved his life. He ended the post by encouraging fellow lovers of the outdoors to get their skin checked as well. 

Protect Yourself, Check Yourself

Regardless of whether you have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or have never set foot in Tinseltown, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. These celebrities’ stories serve as a great reminder of the importance of daily sun protection and the need for regular skin exams. If you have yet to schedule your annual check-up with your dermatologist, we encourage you to do so today. When it comes to your skin health, there is no time like the present!

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