Cancer Scare for 'Grey's Anatomy' Star

For "Grey's Anatomy's" Eric Dane, the break in production because of the writers' strike could not have come at a better time.

Dane, 35, realized he needed to see a dermatologist after the new year when he spotted what looked like chapped lips in the mirror, he tells OK! magazine in its next issue, out this week.

Because of the strike, he was able to schedule a doctor's visit right away. "I asked (the dermatologist) what it was, and he said it was malignant tissue caused by sun damage. … I grew up in California. I spent a lot of time skiing and a lot of time surfing, and before you realize how important sunblock is, it is too late."

Dane says the doctor burned off the malignancy with liquid nitrogen. "After they burn it off," he tells OK!, "you get a cream. The cream, if you put it on any kind of malignant tissue or cell growth, will eradicate it."

But the treatment wasn't easy. "I had a really severe reaction to the cream," says Dane, whose lips were traumatized by the treatments. "I didn't eat very well for a couple of weeks and lost a bunch of weight. That was kind of tough, but if that's the trade-off, that's fine."

Dane still managed to walk the red carpet with his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, 36, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27. And he says he probably should have used sunscreen more often as a child. "This is probably something that happened so long ago," he says. "I wasn't so vigilant then. I am now. And I think everybody should be."