"I am extremely lucky to have caught it in time, and it just goes to show you have to know your body and be very aware of any changes," Frankel tells PEOPLE about the growth on her face that was diagnosed as skin cancer
A growth on Bethenny Frankel‘s face has been diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma.
Last month, a source confirmed to PEOPLE that the Real Housewives of New York City star was being tested for skin cancer after she “had a growth removed” below her eye. Now, the Skinnygirl mogul will undergo surgery to remove the the skin cancer.
“I had a growth on my face that was enlarging. I guessed it to be a basal cell carcinoma and had it lanced and removed,” Frankel, 46, tells PEOPLE. “The doctor confirmed it is indeed basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, and says while it is cancer, I am lucky to have it removed — so it won’t affect my overall health.”
“I am now scheduled to undergo Mohs surgery to remove the cancer, followed immediately by plastic surgery to remove any scarring,” she shares.
In light of her diagnosis, Frankel implores everyone to be diligent about protecting their skin from the sun.
“I am extremely lucky to have caught it in time, and it just goes to show you have to know your body and be very aware of any changes. This was a sharp reminder why it is so important that I religiously wear large hats to cover my face and reapply sunscreen,” she says. “Always make sure to rub in spray-on sunscreen on your kids — spraying it on by itself doesn’t cover them enough. Apply it thoroughly every two hours and check the expiration dates as sunscreen does expire; and sit in the shade whenever possible.”
“I love to swim in the ocean and go to the beach, but this is a reminder that the sun is not your friend,” she adds.
On Aug. 30, Frankel — who has been actively campaigning to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey — shared an Instagram video about the catastrophic Houston-area flooding, announcing that 100 percent of the donations raised by her charity, B Strong, are going to women and families in need in the Houston area.
In response to a concerned fan’s question about the band-aid on her face, Frankel revealed that she “had a growth removed.”
“I realized this is the time to raise your hand and help,” she told PEOPLE. “We’ve raised more than $300,000 in supplies and donations.”
Frankel arrived in Houston for a full-day marathon earlier this month to hand out supplies at the city’s Dress for Success office. There, she met with 200 volunteers to distribute clothing and necessities — including toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks (1,000 pairs from Bombas), underwear, bras, gift cards and gas cards — to more than 500 women and their families.
“I hope this will help these women from feeling helpless,” she added. “And any surplus goods will be sent to Florida for families affected by Hurricane Irma.”
Now the reality star is busy raising more donations and gathering supplies for women and families in need after Hurricane Irma … even more than last time.