Richard Simmons Shares Skin Cancer Diagnosis

By Steve Blanchard - April 01, 2024

Fitness icon and television personality Richard Simmons has joined a growing list of celebrities sharing their encounters with skin cancer publicly.

Simmons posted on Facebook that he had undergone a procedure to remove “this strange looking bump under my right eye,” which doctors diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma.


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

The other most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.

Simmons shared his diagnosis just weeks after model and actress Christie Brinkley shared a similar diagnosis on social media. In 2023, actor Hugh Jackman shared his diagnosis and treatment of basal cell carcinoma on Instagram.

Simmons says his doctor was able to remove all of the cancerous cells and that he also had other parts of his body checked out of an abundance of caution.

“Before I left, he checked my arms, my back, my chest and my legs,” Simmons wrote in his post. “I had a little Frankenstein under my right eye for a while. He gave me some cream to put on it which I did religiously. Because of his fine work I don’t have a scar.”

Dr. Rogerio Neves, a plastic surgeon with the Department of Cutaneous Oncology
Dr. Rogerio Neves, Department of Cutaneous Oncology

Neves says one of the main causes for basal cell carcinoma is chronic sun exposure or other exposure to ultraviolet lights, like in tanning beds. The UV light can cause genetic mutations in basal cells, which are skin cells responsible for producing new cells as old cells are shed.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, approximately 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with a form of skin cancer every day. Simmons says that during his visit to the doctor, he saw many different types of patients while he waited for his appointment.

“I was shocked to see all of the skin cancers that they had,” he wrote. “Some had cancer on top of their heads … their face … and their neck.”

Annual screenings are the best way to ensure that any concerning areas are on your radar, and Moffitt’s Mole Patrol offers free screenings throughout the year. Simmons asked fans to take skin cancer seriously and to remain vigilant with screenings.

“I know some of you reading this have had cancer or have known someone in your life who has had cancer,” Simmons wrote. “Promise me you will see your doctor and get a complete checkup.”


Exposure – Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when UV is its most intense.

Clothing – Protect your skin from sun damage with clothing, including a loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt and long pants made of a tightly woven fabric. Swimming? Opt for a T-shirt or rash guard while in the water.

Hat – Protect your head, ears, face and neck with the shade of a wide-brimmed hat constructed of a tightly woven fabric like canvas (UV rays can penetrate a straw hat). If you wear a baseball cap, use sunscreen on exposed areas like your face, neck and ears.

Sunglasses – Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Well-designed sunglasses can help prevent cataracts and protect the delicate skin around your eyes from the harmful effects of sun exposure.

Shade – Seek shade underneath a shelter, umbrella or tree, especially during the midday hours. Use extra caution near surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays, like water and sand.

Sunscreen – Thirty minutes before going outside, always apply a waterproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 to 30. Don’t forget your ears, the tops of your feet and the scalp. Reapply every two hours.

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