Cybill Shepherd has been diagnosed with a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

THE HOLLYWOOD star Cybill Shepherd has been diagnosed with a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

The actress, 52, who once dated Elvis Presley, sought emergency treatment for the disease after looking in the mirror one morning and discovering a "scaly patch".

Her mother, Patty Micci, confirmed: "The cancer on Cybill’s back was melanoma. She was told to have it checked out, so Cybill went to her doctor in Los Angeles." She added that although doctors had been able to remove the cancerous growth, the operation had left a scar that had required plastic surgery to conceal it.

Ms Micci said that her daughter’s cancer was probably the result of spending too much time sunbathing as a child. "When Cybill was young, she went in the sun a lot. We lived near a lake, and she used to bake in the sun on a dock, applying lots of suntan oil. Back then, we had no idea just how damaging the sun’s rays could be, so we encouraged our kids to sunbathe."

The actress’s mother said that her daughter’s skin cancer was melanoma, the most serious kind. As a result of the diagnosis, "Cybill doesn’t want to take any chances. Cybill makes sure she covers herself from head to toe whenever she goes out into the sun". She added that Shepherd would even wear gloves if she was going to be in the sun for any length of time.

Mrs Micci added: "Just hearing the word ‘cancer’ is very frightening. But Cybill was lucky. She acted immediately, and now she’s going to make sure that she takes better care of herself." The Scotsman

Iain Mack