“I never even noticed it” – Michael Flatley reveals malignant skin cancer was spotted by MTV viewer
Michael Flatley has said he owed his life to an eagle-eyed American television viewer who helped spot the first signs of malignant skin cancer.
The dancer first revealed full details of his diagnosis by claiming that he had agreed to act as a Breakthrough Cancer Research (BCR) Ambassador as a personal debt of honor to help fight the disease.
Flatley said he fully supports the BCR campaign to designate a 33rd Irish County – Co Saolfada, County of Survivors – to honor progress in helping people beat a cancer diagnosis.
Almost 45,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Ireland and today there are around 200,000 survivors or people living with cancer across the country. Sadly, 9,000 people still die from the disease each year.
Flatley confirmed six years ago that he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2003, but never spoke of all the circumstances of his diagnosis.
“So many people around me have had cancer and so many people I know have died from it,” he told Independent Sunday.
“I was diagnosed with skin cancer myself and it was a very scary time. I sympathize with anyone lying on this bed facing the uncertainty of the future. It can be a scary place.
“I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It was around 2003 and it was purely by chance that we noticed it.
Now 62, he was in the best shape of his life and leading the troupe of his show, Lord of the dance.
He was on a business trip to Las Vegas before going to Beverly Hills and then to Barbados.
“We were on the fifth anniversary of Lord of the dance in Las Vegas and I did an interview with MTV, ”he said.
“Someone watched the interview and brought it to the attention of my personal assistant and said, ‘Have you ever noticed the brown spot on the side of Michael’s face? I had never even noticed it.
“They advised me to go and have him checked. I did and the doctor took a sample right away. I was flying to Barbados the next day and he called me and asked me to come see him.
“I said I was leaving for the airport and would he mind if I called him when I got back?” He said, “No, I need you to come in immediately.” It was a little scary. I canceled the flight and went straight to see him.
“He said if I had let him do a few more weeks, he probably couldn’t have done anything for me.”
Luckily the quick treatment made sure the melanoma was fully treated and left no side effects.
“You have to take care of these things immediately. People like BCR help find the answers to all of these difficult problems. They are the ones who can help.
“But in today’s world we are bombarded with negativity and I think it’s really important to talk about the successes with cancer treatment and research.
“This idea of Saolfada and the 200,000 cancer survivors is a really important thing to focus on. This shows us how important the work undertaken by BCR and other researchers is.
“They suffered tremendously during Covid-19 in terms of fundraising. Now that things are getting back together in the world, I hope people will be generous and support them. “
The Chicago-born star will be honored for her work supporting cancer and homeless charities in Monaco next month.
On July 7, Prince Albert will present Flatley with the prestigious CC Forum award for his outstanding contribution to global humanitarian causes.
This is the second great honor he receives in Monaco – where he divides his time between a historic villa in the principality’s hills and his Castlehyde mansion in north Cork – after being honored at the Red Cross gala in 2003 by the late Prince Rainier. . He also owns a property at
Flatley said he loved his house in Castlehyde and just couldn’t bring himself to sell it last year when he received an offer for the quaint mansion on the banks of the Blackwater River.
“I am too emotionally attached to Castlehyde. Love it, I just can’t let go of this place, I’m crazy about it. I love Cork, I love Ireland and whenever we have the chance to come home we try to make it happen.
The dancer bought the abandoned property for 3 million euros almost 20 years ago. He then spent nearly 30 million euros restoring the house to all its eighteenth-century splendor..
Castlehyde hosted the wedding reception after his marriage in 2006 to his Meath-born wife Niamh, herself a talented former dancer.
The mansion has its own whiskey room, two wine cellars, a cinema, a dance studio, a music room, a gym and a formal reception hall..
A hallway runs the length of the house and can be converted into a large dining room for celebrations.