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Michelle Monaghan & Melanoma

May 8, 2022   Return

With her svelte figure, vibrant skin and luscious hair, actress Michelle Monaghan resembles a woman at the peak of health – she looks hardly a day over 40!   It would come as a surprise to many that, back in 2011, the star of Source Code, Mission Impossible III and Made of Honour revealed that she was in a secret battle with skin cancer

Like many skin cancer patients, Monaghan was barely aware of the risks and initial signs of the disease. Fortunately for her, her husband, graphic designer Peter White, is Australian. “In Australia, they are very aware of skin cancer!” she quips.

She had White to thank for the early detection, as it was her husband’s keen eye that noticed a mole on the back of her calf. After much insistence on his part, Monaghan visited a dermatologist to have the mole medically examined. Just like what her husband suspected, what appeared to be a minor skin imperfection turned out to be cancerous. 

Skin cancer, also known as melanoma, is the result of the pigment-producing skin cells, known as melanocytes, becoming abnormal and growing out of control. Moles are the result of melanocytes growing in a cluster, with tissue surrounding them. It is therefore advisable for those with large unusual-looking moles to watch out for signs of change in them. This seemingly harmless concentration of cells actually carries the risk of developing into melanoma, especially when there is a noticeable change in the size and appearance of the mole.

When a melanoma is diagnosed, the most effective treatment to prevent cancerous cells from spreading is to surgically remove the affected part of the skin.

In Monaghan’s case, the malignant mole had caused “quite the chunk taken out of my leg.” Nevertheless, she is extremely grateful her husband had noticed it and urged her to get it checked.   

Her brush with skin cancer, though not lethal, has made Monaghan more cancer-aware and taught her a valuable lesson in not taking her health for granted. Following her victory over melanoma, the True Detective actress professed regret over her smoking habit.

“I smoked for almost 10 years. I really regret that,” she admitted to The Daily Mail after successfully quitting her smoking habit. “Thankfully, I came out on the other side. I hope my lungs are repairing themselves now.”


The Daily Mail. Available at Available at www. Available at

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