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Christie Brinkley Shares Surprise Skin Cancer Diagnosis—These Are the Early Symptoms

The supermodel is opening up about how she was able to catch it early.

As a world-famous supermodel and actor, Christie Brinkley has been open about the skincare secrets that have kept her looking naturally beautiful at 70. But now the Sports Illustrated model is sharing something even more important about the health of her skin. In a March 13 Instagram post, Brinkley revealed that she had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), one of the most common types of skin cancer.

"All of this can be avoided by being diligent with your sun protection! I got serious a bit late so now for this ole mermaid/gardener, I'll be slathering on my SPF 30, reapplying as needed, wearing long sleeves and a wide brim hat. And doing regular total body check ups…that is a MUST," she wrote in the caption of her Instagram post.

The diagnosis was a surprise, because Brinkley was actually accompanying her daughter to a check-up when she decided to have the doctor look at a tiny dot she could feel on her face as she applied foundation.

"He took a look and knew immediately it needed a biopsy," she recalled.

The model said he did her biopsy then and there, determining that she did have skin cancer—a diagnosis Brinkley felt "lucky" to get because it was caught so early.

"And I had great doctors that removed the cancer and stitched me up to perfection like an haute couture Dior," she told her followers.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), BCC is "highly treatable" when detected early. With that in mind, it's important to know what you should be on the lookout for. Read on to learn some of the early symptoms of this common type of skin cancer.

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A sore that sticks around

Open wound with weeping and bleeding caused by an untreated basal cell. Pre-treatment open wound requiring medical attention.

Open sores are not always a sign of underlying problems. But if you have one that does not heal, it could be an early symptom of BCC, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. You may also notice it bleeding, oozing, or crusting.

"The sore might persist for weeks, or appear to heal and then come back," The Skin Cancer Foundation states on its website.

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Scaly skin near the ear

The young man touched his ear and he had a sore ear.

BCC often develops on or near an ear, according to the AAD. So don't immediately write off a patch of scaly skin around this area as just dry skin, as it could be an early symptom of skin cancer.

A shiny bump

Extreme close up of a skin mole

Another change that BCC can cause on your skin is the growth of a shiny bump. This bump will often appear skin-colored and translucent, "meaning you can see a bit through the surface," according to the Mayo Clinic.

"The bump can look pearly white or pink on white skin," the health organization states on its website. "On brown and Black skin, the bump often looks brown or glossy black."

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A scar-like mark

wound on the skin. macro

You could also mistake BCC for a scar. That's because one early sign of this skin cancer is a scar-like mark on your skin, according to the AAD. This mark will be waxy and could be white, yellow, or skin-colored.

Also, "the affected skin may look shiny, and the surrounding skin often feels tight," the experts at the AAD explain.

A growth that dips in the center

skin cancer with basal cell carcinoma on nose

Make sure you pay attention to the middle of any new bumps, too. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC can also appear as a "small pink growth with a slightly raised, rolled edge and a crusted indentation in the center." Tiny blood vessels may appear on the surface of the growth over time as well.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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