Richard Simmons Says He Has Skin Cancer: ‘Strange Looking Bump’

C Flanigan/FilmMagic via Getty Images
C Flanigan/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Fitness icon Richard Simmons on Tuesday revealed that he’s been diagnosed with a common form of skin cancer.

The 75-year-old said he went to a dermatologist after becoming concerned about a “strange looking bump” under his right eye and that tests confirmed the diagnosis. Simmons’ announcement about his illness on his Facebook page came the day after he’d alarmed fans with a post in which he’d said he is “dying,” only to later clarify that his message had been intended as a call to embrace life and that he is not, in fact, terminally ill.

Richard Simmons Is ‘Very Healthy’ Despite Cryptic Posts About ‘Dying’

In his Tuesday post, Simmons wrote that he’d called his dermatologist after the bump below his eye hadn’t been cleared up by an over-the-counter treatment. “I sat in his chair and he looked at it through a magnifying mirror,” Simmons wrote. “He told me he would have to scrape it and put it under the microscope. Now I am getting a little bit nervous. He comes back about 20 minutes later and says the C word. You have cancer.”

Simmons said he asked the doctor what type of cancer he has and was informed it is basal cell carcinoma (BCC). “I told him to stop calling me dirty names,” Simmons joked. “He laughed.” BCC is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring form of any type of cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, with around 3.6 million Americans being diagnosed with BCC every year.

After the diagnosis, Simmons said he went to see a second doctor who “explained that he has to burn my skin to remove the cancer cells.” “The burning really hurt my skin,” he added “It lasted about 30 minutes.” Simmons said he was then instructed to leave the clinic for an hour. “I went back to some sad news,” he said. “I didn’t get it all out. He burned my face again. This time was worse than before... It was deeper. I did not cry this time but I did grit my teeth.”

Simmons’ post ended with “to be continued.” It’s not clear if he requires further treatment.

News of his diagnosis came after Simmons wrote an apparently unrelated post beginning: “I have some news to tell you. Please don’t be sad. I am…. dying.” It went on to say that the “truth is we all are dying” and address the importance of diet and exercise (as well as recommend Tim McGraw’s “terrific” 2004 song “Live Like You Were Dying”).

“Sorry many of you have gotten upset about my message today,” he later wrote in a follow-up post. “Even the press has gotten in touch with me. I am not dying. It was a message about saying how we should embrace every day that we have. Sorry for this confusion.”

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