When Ali Fedotowsky first revealed her skin cancer diagnosis, she felt lucky to have caught it early. Now, she’s encouraging fans to stay vigilant about their skincare with the help of the American Cancer Society.
The Bachelorette alum, 36, opened up about her journey with basal cell carcinoma while speaking to Us Weekly exclusively, and explained more about what it was like to discover that she had this “highly treatable” form of cancer — and how her perspective has changed since her diagnosis.
“I spent my whole life never getting my skin checked,” she said. “When it came to my skin, I cared if it looked tan, you know, I was laying out on the sun, tanning beds, all of that. As I got older … I started realizing [after] talking to my dermatologist, [they said], ‘Start checking your skin for spots, not sunspots, but more so moles that look irregular.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, wow. Oh, my gosh, I feel so vain. Why didn’t I pay attention to this before?'”
Fedotowsky, who married Kevin Manno in 2017, started to get serious about checking out her skin while she was pregnant with her son, Riley, now 2. The couple also shares daughter Molly, 4. After giving birth to her second child, the reality star had a biopsy done on a mole that she thought “looked a little bit weird.”
“I had another one that they checked a few months before that ended up being kind of precancerous,” she explained. “There’s a scale that they call like precancerous to cancerous. And it was, like, in the moderate zone, but not quite basal cell carcinoma. Then the next one I got checked was the one that ended up being the basal cell carcinoma. … It’s not life threatening when you catch it that early, but still, even hearing the word ‘cancer’ is scary. No matter how treatable it is, it’s still a scary word to hear. I mean, when the words came out of his mouth, my stomach dropped … because I had no idea what it was.”
When it comes to recognizing the signs of “irregularity” on one’s skin, Fedotowsky said to be mindful of the shape and color of moles and other spots, especially if you see changes over time. Though basal cell carcinoma is a “very common cancer,” she noted that a simple skin check could be lifesaving.
In January, the Massachusetts native took to Instagram to encourage her social media followers to be more gentle with their skin and spoke publicly about her diagnosis for the first time. “When my dermatologist used the c-word, I just about fainted in his office,” she wrote at the time, adding that this particular type of cancer is “really never fatal when you catch it early.”
Since coming forward with her story, Fedotowsky has kept her fans in the loop about her health and has become a resource for others who are experiencing similar journeys. With cancer patients in treatment experiencing delays in care due to COVID, the former “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast host says supporting the American Cancer Society is more important than ever.
“They need our support. They need us to raise awareness for them. They need us to help raise funds,” she said of the organization, which has experienced a 50 percent cut in research support in the last year. “I think spreading awareness is the biggest thing. … I have this platform I’m talking to you right now when people are watching this. I have this platform to spread awareness and potentially save lives, help people. I just, I feel fortunate that I’m in a position to do that.”
For more on Fedotowsky’s skin cancer journey, follow @alifedotowsky on Instagram.