At the age of 22, Dancing With The Stars pro Witney Carson found out a discoloration on her foot was actually melanoma. Ahead of her upcoming appearance on DWTS Season 27, she spoke out about her battle with cancer at such a young age and how it nearly derailed her dream.
According to her essay for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Carson found out she had the deadliest form of skin cancer, and during her diagnosis, she also got asked to become a professional on DWTS. Having danced since the age of 3, Carson did not want to let her dream go for cancer treatment. At first, she believed she could put off the surgery until after the season, but her doctor told her if she did, she would need chemotherapy.
“I was 22 at the time of my diagnosis and truly believed I was invincible,” she said. “I didn’t realize how serious melanoma was until the doctor told me if I had waited three weeks longer, I would have needed chemotherapy. That’s when I grasped the severity of the situation.”
She opted to have the surgery, and unfortunately, doctors found that the melanoma spread to her lymph nodes, which meant for a more invasive surgery and a longer recovery time. Carson spent a month recovering, and then she spent another half a year in physical therapy to regain complete use of her foot. Plus, the entire process brought a lot of pain and suffering for her as she worked on the show.
“I tore open my stitches my first day back at DWTS, and there were pools of blood everywhere!” according to Carson. “It made the recovery so much worse. I had to see a foot specialist every week after the show to rewrap my foot, remove scar tissue, and send me on my way. I also did physical therapy as soon as the scar healed, for about six months.”
Because the dance professional had a family history of skin cancer, she had annual checkups at the dermatologist, which is how the spot on her foot was discovered. After experiencing the pain and recovery of the surgery to remove the melanoma spot, Carson admitted that she regretted her time in tanning beds as a teenager, and she explained that now she uses self-tanner to get a nice glow instead of tanning.
Thankfully, she’s fully recovered, and now Carson uses sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when she’s outside, and she reapplies each hour. Plus, she wears hats and covers up her skin as much as she can to avoid additional damage.
Next up on the dancer’s plate is the upcoming 27th season of DWTS, which premieres on September 24 on ABC. In addition, she’ll appear on the franchise’s new series, Dancing With the Stars Juniors, which begins on October 7. According to the Inquisitr, Bristol Palin’s son, Tripp Johnston, 9, recently joined the cast of the new junior version of the show. He’ll join Honey Boo Boo and several other celebrity children.
Her story could’ve have turned out so much differently if she hadn’t had regular checkups and a followed the treatment plan laid out by her doctor. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the instances of melanoma are rising especially in the 15- to 29-year-old women age group.