‘Dancing with the Stars’ Witney Carson says she was ’embarrassed’ to reveal cancer diagnosis to producers

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Witney Carson was fighting her own battle during her debut season on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Carson, 28, shared with People magazine that she almost missed out on her “dream” opportunity when she discovered she was diagnosed with melanoma, a form of skin cancer, weeks before she was set to arrive in Los Angeles in 2014.

“I finally got this call that was going to just skyrocket my career,” she told the outlet. “It was my dream.”

"Dancing with the Stars" Witney Carson was diagnosed with melanoma cancer when she was 19.

“Dancing with the Stars” Witney Carson was diagnosed with melanoma cancer when she was 19.
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer)

Before she knew it, here world was turned upside down.

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“All of a sudden I get diagnosed with melanoma and, of course, being myself, I’m like, ‘It’s fine. I can still go on the show,'” she said of the season she starred alongside Cody Simpson. 

The “DWTS” vet noted she was “embarrassed” to reveal her diagnosis because she wanted people to think she was healthy.

“I think I was embarrassed only in the fact that I was an athlete and I was supposed to be encompassing everything healthy and fit. I was supposed to be doing all the right things to be an athlete, and so it was embarrassing for me to be like, ‘Yes, I had, I was sick. I was literally sick,'” she said. “The producers didn’t know. My partner didn’t know. I wanted people to think I was perfectly healthy.”

Witney Carson starred alongside Cody Simpson in her debut season in 2014.

Witney Carson starred alongside Cody Simpson in her debut season in 2014.
(Photo by Adam Taylor)

To Carson, there was no way she was missing out on the opportunity, even if that meant she would dance before doctors cleared her.

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“I walk in my first day of rehearsals, I’m just going full force,” Carson said. “The doctor has not cleared me for any active anything. I just decided to do it anyway, because how could I not? It’s my dream. So I go, I do the whole routine. 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. Ripped my stitches open. I had to get my foot wrapped every week after I did the live show. So, if you go back through the videos, you’ll see my left foot wrapped in gauze.”

Carson, who was diagnosed with skin cancer at 19, feels her use of tanning beds in high school might have been a contributor. Both her parents are also melanoma cancer survivors – genetics plays a role in melanoma.

Carson and her husband, Carson McAllister, welcomed their son, Kevin Leo McAlister, in 2021.

Carson and her husband, Carson McAllister, welcomed their son, Kevin Leo McAlister, in 2021.
(Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“I have not set foot in a tanning bed since I was diagnosed, which was 19,” she said. “I have not set foot in it.”

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Carson is now a collaborator with EltaMD Skin Care for their “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” campaign to help raise awareness for skin cancer prevention and promote sun safety.

Carson and her husband, Carson McAllister, take preventative measures to keep their 1-year-old, Kevin Leo McAllister, safe from the sun by applying sunscreen to him from an early age. 

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