Sister Wives: Janelle Brown has skin cancer removed from her face, urges followers to protect their skin

Janelle Brown of Sister Wives
Janelle Brown of Sister Wives. Pic credit: TLC

Janelle Brown of Sister Wives took to Instagram on Sunday to share her skin cancer scare with followers and educate them on sun safety.

Janelle posted a selfie with a surgical bandage on her upper left lip. She captioned the post, “Many of you have been noticing and reaching out to me about the blemish above my lip in the new episodes. I am posting this picture hopefully for awareness.”

“I started to see what looked like a scar develop in an area on my lip where all of my cold sores for the past two decades have erupted. At first I thought it was a new cold sore forming but then it never developed and just stayed.”

“Over the next year or so it slowly increased in size. I started treating it with every scar medication I could find, thinking it was my body reacting to the years of trauma to that area of my face. With the onset of Covid my doctors appointment was delayed two months but I finally had it checked out.”

“It was a basal cell carcinoma, skin cancer, non malignant, but it still needed to be removed. I am happy to report that it was removed and all is well. You have to know that I am very very careful to always apply sunscreen.”

“I have always burned so easily so really cannot go out, ever, without some sort of protection. This place on my face just looked like scar tissue and because I had cold sores there since my early 20s – it honestly did not occur to me to have it even looked at.”

“I hope this share will be helpful to some. I am sharing to say that, even if it seems like it couldn’t be skin cancer, it doesn’t hurt to have your doctor look at it ?”

Janelle hopes by sharing her experience others will be more proactive

As Janelle mentioned, some fans had taken notice of a change in her upper lip and reached out to the star. Janelle mentioned that she has had regular cold sore outbreaks for about 30 years.

Janelle isn’t one to frequently post selfies, so when she does, fans take notice. And this was an important selfie to post.

According to, basal cell carcinomas are the most common and frequently occurring type of skin cancer, with over 4 million cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. They can often look like open sores, similar to cold sores, like Janelle has experienced almost her whole life, so it isn’t surprising that she put off getting it examined.

Janelle is Kody Brown’s second wife, joining Meri and Kody’s union in 1993. Janelle grew up in the mainstream Mormon church (or LDS) and didn’t entertain the idea of polygamy until later in life.

Kody , Meri, Janelle, and Christine Brown of Sister Wives
Kody with wives Meri, Janelle, and Christine, and children Logan, Aspyn, Mariah, and Maddie. Pic credit: TLC

Janelle knew Meri’s family before Kody and was married to Meri’s brother

She met Meri’s family when she was 19 and ended up marrying Meri’s brother, Adam Barber. She wasn’t married long and soon was frequently spending time with Meri and Kody as friends, and the idea of polygamy grew on her.

She described meeting Kody for the first time in the family’s book, Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage. She said that when Kody walked in the house to join a party they were attending, the “strangest feeling” washed over her. Janelle wrote, “I felt as if I had forgotten something and suddenly remembered it. It was a feeling of relief and recognition.”

Janelle was in the middle of her divorce from Adam Barber at the time, however, so she pushed her feelings to the side for a while. Ironically, Janelle and her ex-husband attended Meri and Kody’s wedding and can be seen in some of their wedding pictures.

Kody recounts a slightly different story of meeting Janelle for the first time. In the book, Kody described their pairing as a different feeling than what he experienced with Meri. He wrote, “It was a different feeling entirely, one that had more to do with spirituality and intellectual compatibility than romantic love.”

Janelle was the first of Kody’s four wives to make him a biological father when their son, Logan was born a year after their marriage. Janelle and Kody share a total of six children together: Logan, Madison (Maddie), Hunter, Garrison, Gabriel and Savanah as well as two grandchildren, Axel and Evie. Janelle is frequently referred to as the most level-headed of Kody’s four wives and rarely engages in drama, making her a fan favorite.  

Sister Wives airs on Sundays at 10/9c on TLC.

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