Rachel Maddow Undergoes Surgery for Skin Cancer

By Sara Bondell - October 13, 2021

Rachel Maddow revealed she had surgery for skin cancer and is sharing an important message with her viewers.

The MSNBC anchor said last week she had a cancerous mole removed from her neck. She said doctors were able to remove all of the cancer and she is “going to be totally fine.”

Maddow recalled that she was at a minor league baseball game when her partner, Susan Mikula, noticed a mole on Maddow’s neck had changed. Even though Maddow tried to brush it off as a bug bite or sunburn, Mikula was adamant.

“We’ve been together 22 years. That mole has changed,” Mikula told Maddow.

Maddow eventually saw a dermatologist who did a biopsy and discovered it was skin cancer. Following her successful surgery, the TV host is stressing the importance of getting your skin checked.

“Schedule a check now with your doctor,” she said. “It’s only by the grace of Susan that I found mine in enough time that it was totally treatable because I had been blowing off my appointments forever to get stuff like that checked because I assumed it will always be fine.”

Maddow’s message is one shared by experts at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“It is very important to have your skin checked regularly, especially if you have risk factors,” said dermatologist Dr. Lilia Correa-Selm. “Among the most important risk factors are extensive sun exposure, use of tanning beds (past or present) and personal or family history of skin cancer. Like Rachel, our partners or family members can help identify lesions of concerns, so it is very important to address any spot that may be of concern.”

Correa-Selm says to be on the lookout for new or old lesions that start growing rapidly, lesions that start changing colors of shape or symptoms like bleeding, itchiness and pain.

“You know your body. If something does not seem right, have it checked,” she said.

When there is any change to your skin, it’s important to keep in mind the ABCDEs:

  • Asymmetry – If an imaginary line were to be drawn through the middle of a mole and the two halves didn’t match, the mole would be asymmetrical.
  • Borders – The borders of benign moles are generally even and smooth, while the borders of an early melanoma tend to be scalloped or notched.
  • Color – Because most benign moles are uniform in color (usually a single shade of brown) a mole that displays multiple colors, such as different shades of tan, brown, black, red, white or blue, is suspicious.
  • Diameter – Most melanomas are larger in diameter than an eraser at the tip of a pencil (approximately one quarter inch).
  • Evolving – Benign moles typically don’t change drastically over time; a mole that evolves in terms of shape, size, color, elevation, bleeding, itching or crusting could be a melanoma.

To learn more about how to check your skin for skin cancer click here. You can also visit a Mole Patrol skin cancer screening event. For a list of upcoming screenings, click here.

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Sara Bondell Medical Science Writer More Articles


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