“Dancing With the Stars” professional Witney Carson hid her skin cancer diagnosis because she feared it would cost her the job that would “shoot” her career.
In 2014, the professional dancer would make her debut in the dance competition series when she learned she had melanoma and underwent two surgeries to remove the cancer.
“I think I was only ashamed because I was an athlete and would encompass everything that was supposed to be healthy and fit,” she explained to People.
“I would do all the right things to be an athlete, and so it was embarrassing for me to say, ‘Yeah, I had that, I was sick. I was literally sick.’ The producers didn’t know my partner [Cody Simpson] Did not know. I wanted people to think I was perfectly healthy.”
Carson, now 28, had to have an inch of skin removed around a mole on her foot, as well as all of her lymph nodes in her left hip because the cancer was spreading “so quickly.”
Despite not being allowed to do strenuous activities, the mother of one returned to “DWTS” and went “completely” on the competition series.
“I decided to do it anyway, because how could I not? It is my dream. So I go, I do the whole routine,” she recalled. “I’m like, ‘My foot feels so sweaty. I’m so sweaty. This is so weird,’ and I looked down and my white tennis shoe is just covered in blood, just covered in blood. My stitches ripped open. I had to pack my foot every week after I did the live show.
The “So You Think You Can Dance” alum said she believes her fondness for tanning beds when she was in high school contributed to her melanoma, a disease both of her parents survived.
“I haven’t set foot in a tanning bed since I was diagnosed, who was 19,” Carson said. “I didn’t set foot in it.”