A former “Bachelorette” is encouraging her followers to practice sun safety after recently discovering she has skin cancer.
In an Instagram post, the 35-year-old said that a suspicious mole turned out to be basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a common form of skin cancer often caused by sun exposure.
“Get your skin checked! A couple weeks ago I found out I have skin cancer,” Fedowtowsky-Manno wrote. “When my dermatologist used the C-word, I just about fainted in his office. Thankfully, the type of skin cancer I have is rarely fatal when you catch it early.”
The wife and mother-of-two shared photos of the discoloured mole on the left side of her stomach. Fedotosky-Manno also revealed she has a scar on her stomach from a previous procedure in which she had pre-cancerous cells and skin removed.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, BCC accounts for approximately 70-80 per cent of all skin cancers. Unlike melanoma, BCC begins in the lower part of the epidermis (basal layer) and can appear in many different forms. While melanoma typically begins as dark or asymmetrical moles, BCC and other forms of skin cancer can present in different ways: sores that bleed or won’t heal, raised or scaly red patches, a growth that itches, pale white or yellow flat areas that look like scars, or a pink growth with raised edges.
“Basal cell carcinoma is super common...so it’s no big deal. But what is a big deal is not treating it and treating it early. That is why going to a dermatologist and getting your skin checked every year is so important,” the “Bachelor Nation” alum wrote, adding that she now goes for routine checks every three to six months. “The very first thing I did was text my family on a group text urging them to all get their skin checked. So I’m doing the same for all of you, my extended family, right here and right now.”
When detected early, non-melanoma skin cancers have a high-survival rate and are considered treatable. However, when left untreated, BCC can spread to nearby areas of the body, such as cartilage and skin.
Practicing sun safety by wearing protective clothing (long sleeves, sunglasses, hats etc), avoiding the sun during its strongest hours and applying sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher with broad spectrum protection everyday is the best defence against developing skin cancer.
“I’m lucky it wasn’t melanoma and I’m lucky that I caught it early,” Fedotowsky-Manno said. “Moving forward I plan on making it a priority of mine to use the best natural products on my skin and be rigorous about applying sunscreen and reminding all of you to do the same!”