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Teddi Mellencamp Reveals Stage 2 Melanoma Diagnosis: How to Spot Signs of Skin Cancer

After being diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma, Teddi Mellencamp encouraged fans to get checked. Dr. Tess Mauricio told E! News how people can take precautions and look for signs of skin cancer.

By Alli Rosenbloom, Alyssa Morin Oct 12, 2022 5:58 PMTags
Watch: Khloe Kardashian Has Surgery to Remove Face Tumor

For Teddi Mellencamp, loving the skin you're in also means protecting it.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum shared those sentiments with her Instagram followers on Oct. 11 after revealing she was diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma.

"If a doctor says, 'come in every 3 months' please go in every 3 months," the reality TV star urged her fans. "I so badly wanted to blow this off."

That's just one of the many lessons the 41-year-old has gleaned from this experience, sharing, "I was a '90s teen, putting baby oil and iodine on my skin to tan it. Never wearing sunscreen or getting my moles checked until I was 40 years old."

She added, "This has been such a wake up call for me."

So, how exactly can people take precautions and look for signs of skin cancer?

Dr. Tess Mauricio—who worked with Khloe Kardashian alongside Dr. Garth Fischer to remove the star's face tumorshared her expertise with E! News, detailing the importance of scheduling regular check-ups, why wearing sunscreen is non-negotiable and how to spot skin irregularities.

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Celeb Cancer Survivors

What is melanoma skin cancer?

First things first, the American Cancer Society describes melanoma as a type of skin cancer that "develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown color) start to grow out of control."

With Teddi's melanoma diagnosis being stage 2, the organization reports that the tumor is more than one millimeter thick and could potentially have ulcerated but it hasn't spread to nearby lymph nodes or other distant parts of the body.

JB Lacroix/WireImage

What are the signs of melanoma and other skin cancers that you can look out for?

"With melanoma, there's the ABCDE that people need to remember," Dr. Tess told E!. "A is asymmetry. If you put a line in the middle of a new pigmentation growth, the two sides should match. If they don't, then that's what we call asymmetric."

"B is border and should be very smooth, no jagged edges," she continued. "C is color and should be uniform throughout—you shouldn't have different shades of pigmentation within the mole or the pigmented lesion."

The Stanford-trained dermatologist added, "D is diameter—growth and pigmentation bigger than a pencil eraser are concerning. E is evolution. If it's changing, if it's itching, if it's bleeding, then you need to see a dermatologist right away."

While Dr. Tess said these are possible signs of melanoma, she pointed out it's not 100 percent accurate. As she put it, "With any new growth, any new pigmentation you should have a board-certified dermatologists look at it."

How often should you schedule checkups?

"If you have a family history of melanoma that increases your risk, not just with melanoma but with other skin cancers," Dr. Tess said. "You should get checked. And if you've had sunburns as a child or as an adult that also increases your risk of melanoma and skin cancers."

The M Beauty Clinic founder also noted that if you've been previously diagnosed with skin cancer, your chance of developing future ones increases. 

"With melanoma," she went on, "depending on how deep it is, we have patients come in on a monthly basis."

All in all, Dr. Tess emphasized that early detection and surveillance are key.

"Once a year, make it a part of your yearly checkup," she recommended. "And if you've had skin cancer and did surgery, and they say borders are clear and you're good, usually every six months is suggested."

Instagam/Teddi Mellencamp

How can you prevent melanoma and other skin cancers?

Well, you've heard it before: Wearing sunscreen is an absolute must in protecting your skin.

"The UVA rays from the sun can damage the skin," Dr. Tess explained, "and not only make it prone to the signs of aging but can cause skin cancers."

With so many SPF options available, the dermatologist said implementing it into your beauty routine has never been easier. 

"It can be in your makeup, it can be a spray, it can be a gel, there are so many formulations now," she noted. "There are a lot of tinted sunscreens now that are zinc and titanium dioxide, so you get broad spectrum coverage, which means you're protected from both UVA and UVB."

In addition to encouraging re-application throughout the day, she offered other ways to shield yourself from the sun. 

"Wear your hats," she added. "Wear your big sunglasses, use a rash guard and seek shade."

And when it comes to tanning, like Teddi mentioned she used to do in the '90s, Dr. Tess said "there is no such thing" as a safe tan.

"Don't tan outside because you are damaging the skin," she put it simply. "You are increasing your risk for skin cancer."

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