Since being diagnosed with skin cancer, Teddi Mellencamp has used her platform to remind fans to take care of their skin.
Mellencamp revealed in March 2022 that she had a mole removed on her back. “This is a reminder to please go get your yearly skin checks,” the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum wrote in an Instagram statement at the time, confessing that she avoided her own skin checks “for a very long time” because of “anxiety.”
Fellow Bravo star Kyle Richards was the one who encouraged Mellencamp to consult a dermatologist. “When @kylerichards18 saw my back and it had changed colors again, she immediately took me to the doc who within minutes said it looks like melanoma and did a big removal,” Mellencamp wrote. “Please let this be a reminder to take action on your own skin.”
Later that month, Mellencamp shared the good news that her melanoma was “in situ, which means the cancer cells were contained in that area of my skin and have not spread any deeper.”
She continued: “I really hope that in sharing all of this, I can encourage all of you to get your skin checked annually— if I hadn’t gone in, I don’t want to think about how it could have gone differently.”
Scroll down to follow Mellencamp’s skin cancer journey after her initial diagnosis:
Mellencamp revealed that she had been diagnosed with stage II melanoma months after her initial consultation. “Melanoma awareness update. Despite my anxiety, I listened to the doctors and went in for my 3-month skin check last week since my previous melanoma,” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “They said I had another abnormal spot near my last one so they did a biopsy. I got the call this morning: Stage 2 melanoma.”
She told fans to take doctors’ orders seriously, writing, “Moral of this story: if a doctor says, ‘come in every 3 months’ please go in every 3 months. I so badly wanted to blow this off. ‘What could happen in 3 months?’ I thought. Apparently a lot.”
Mellencamp noted that she used to put baby oil and iodine on her skin as a teen to get tan and didn’t start wearing sunscreen or getting her moles checked until she was 40. “This has been such a wakeup call for me, and I hope to all of you, to love and protect the skin you’re in,” she concluded.
Mellencamp revealed in another Instagram post that she had two more moles removed that also came back as melanoma. “Due to so many melanoma’s [sic] in one are, they are worried to cut in there and try to remove because they aren’t sure what they would be cutting into,” she wrote, before detailing her new treatment plan, which involved undergoing a PET scan and seeing a hematology specialist and a surgical oncologist.
Mellencamp shared the results of her PET scan via Instagram, including snaps of where her melanomas were removed. “They think I’m predisposed to melanomas,” she noted. “I will need wide encision [sic] surgery removal and nodal mapping. During the surgery they will also do a sentinel lymphoid biopsy. Because with a PET scan they can’t see if it’s spread to lymph nodes.”
She got candid about her post-op recovery in another social media update days later. “I don’t share this for sympathy- I am sharing because one of the things that keeps me going through all of this is your messages telling me you are getting tested,” Mellencamp wrote. “I am grateful to my family, friends and husband who welcomed my pain and anxiety with open arms. I 💕 you all so much and I just know I am going to kick this cancer’s a**- with the help of my incredible doctors and nurses of course.”
Mellencamp ended the post on an inspirational note, writing, “Life comes in waves and we will always be stronger for it… on the good days and the bad 🖤.”
Mellencamp showed off her back and shoulder scars while revealing that her multiple melanoma removal surgeries were successful. “The margins are clear. I also got genetic testing results and there are no mutations we need to worry about,” she stated. “And I just had a healthy mammogram (please don’t forgo these either, ladies). So I say peace out to 11 melanomas and 3 lymph nodes— I gladly hardly knew ya— and hello to a new sense of peace.”
The “Two Ts In A Pod” podcast cohost continued: “It’s been eye-opening how quickly things can change and it’s a lesson I will never forget, nor quit speaking up about. I want nothing more than for all of you to be proactive so you do not have to experience this. Let my scars be your inspiration to get preventative care.”
Despite her previous removals, Mellencamp developed three new spots that “needed to be biopsied.” She explained via Instagram, “I have had both white and brown melanomas; this is why I continue to share to get checked no matter what.”
She also asked doctors about a suspicious bump on her neck. “The ultrasound came back irregular,” Mellencamp noted. “I had the option of a needle biopsy or getting it cut out completely; the doctor recommended the biopsy to start, however there’s a small chance it’ll come back inconclusive and we will then have to remove it.”
Mellencamp said she was “dealing as best I can with something out of my control,” adding, “Things I can control: staying on top of my appointments, self-checks, and asking my doctors questions.”
Mellencamp partnered with the Melanoma Research Foundation to help raise awareness for skin cancer by showing off her biopsy scars in a “#GetNaked” campaign photo shoot. That same month, she encouraged fans to add sunscreen to their daily skincare routines.
More than one year after her initial diagnosis, Mellencamp revealed that another of her biopsied spots came back as melanoma. “I can’t even remember if this is the 12th or 13th one,” she captioned a tearful selfie via Instagram. “At this point, I am starting to black-out these memories like a portion of my childhood. I slept maybe 2 hours last night because my mind was racing.”
Although the melanoma was caught early, Mellencamp explained that she would need “another surgery next week and additional biopsies.”
One day later, she said “the key” to dealing with her multiple health scares was “getting out there and moving my body, releasing my emotions [and] fixing my mindset.” She added, “Whatever you’re going through, letting the negative fester only holds you down. And we aren’t here to be held down. We are stronger than that. We are meant for more than that. So if you’re struggling with something today, this is for you.”