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Drag Race legend Darienne Lake reflects on being diagnosed with cancer during lockdown – and beating it

Reiss Smith September 24, 2020
Darienne Lake in a yellow dress holding a hand fan

Darienne Lake has opened up about her experience with cancer. (Getty)

Drag Race star Darienne Lake has opened up about her experience surviving cancer after being diagnosed with melanoma during the pandemic.

The season six queen shared her story to inspire others dealing with ill-health, revealing that she received a skin cancer diagnosis earlier this year after noticing a mole on her thigh the size of a pencil eraser.

After sending her sister a photo, Darienne consulted a dermatologist who recommended a biopsy. It was melanoma, a form of skin cancer which can spread to other organs.

Two weeks later she underwent surgery to take out “more tissue and lymph nodes”, and a week on from that, she received good news from her doctor that it hadn’t spread.

All Darienne was left with was a “couple of gnarly scars”.

“Just my luck to live somewhere where the sun shines 12 days a year and I get skin cancer,” she joked on Instagram in August.

“But, things look good and if I smell like sunscreen from now on, you’ll know why. 2020 is a c**t, but I’m a bigger c**t. Not today, cancer. Not today.”

In a new interview, the Drag Race legend explained that she got through the ordeal by “lightening the load”.

“Even just scrolling through TikTok and finding cute boys,” she told SurvivorNet. “Whatever you need to do to get your mind off a heavy situation.”

She hopes that her story can inspire others going through tough times.

“We’re all in this together, even if your diagnosis is much worse than mine, you are going to pull through it.

“You’re going to get the help and you’re going to survive. You’re going to be one of those people who can then share your message with the rest of the world on how you’re survived and thrived.”

Part of Darienne’s strength, she said, stems from her experiences as a “very fat kid, getting picked on and bullied”.

“You eventually create a shell around yourself,” she said, explaining that she was targeted for her weight into her adulthood. “And drag actually helps to make it a really pretty shell.”

More: App Featured, drag queen, Drag Race, lockdown, RuPaul's Drag Race

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