Christie Brinkley Feels Lucky After Early Skin Cancer Detection

By Steve Blanchard - March 14, 2024

Model and actress Christie Brinkley said she feels lucky after her family dermatologist suggested she get a freckle on her face biopsied shortly after she was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.

“I was lucky to find mine because I was accompanying one of my daughters to her checkup,” Brinkley wrote on Instagram.

After the doctor finished examining her daughter, she asked him to look at something she found suspicious while applying foundation.

Basal cell carcinoma is one of the two most common forms of skin cancer and is highly treatable if detected early, according to Moffitt Cancer Center’s Dr. Rogerio Neves, a plastic surgeon with the Department of Cutaneous Oncology. The other most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.

“One of the primary causes of basal cell carcinoma is chronic sun exposure but it can also be brought on by exposure to other UV lights like those used in commercial tanning beds,” Neves said. “UV light can cause genetic mutations in skin cells, specifically the basal cells, which are responsible for producing new cells as old cells are shed away.”

Brinkley credits the early detection of basal cell carcinoma with her successful treatment, which included surgery to remove the cancer.

“I had great doctors that removed the cancer and stitched me up to perfection like a haute couture Dior,” she wrote.

Brinkley is not the only celebrity who has shared their encounter with basal cell carcinoma. Actor Hugh Jackman has shared his encounter with basal cell carcinoma several times on social media. According to Neves, multiple experiences with the cancer are not uncommon.

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"Many people who are diagnosed may develop additional lesions elsewhere on their skin later in life."

- Dr. Rogerio Neves, Department of Cutaneous Oncology

“Many people who are diagnosed may develop additional lesions elsewhere on their skin later in life,” Neves said.

The best treatment, of course, is protecting yourself and avoiding basal cell carcinoma all together. Brinkley said she got serious about sun protection a “bit late” and will now be diligent about applying sunscreen.

“The good news for you is that all of this can be avoided by being diligent with your sun protection,” Brinkley wrote. “I’ll be slathering on my SPF 30, reapplying as needed, wearing long sleeves and a wide brim hat.”

She said she’ll also be doing regular total body checkups.

“That is a must,” she said.

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