Wolverine and Les Miserables star, Hugh Jackman, 45, announced yesterday that he has just had a cancerous growth surgically removed from his nose. After being urged by his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, 57, to have the mark on his nose checked out by doctors, Jackman was then diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, a type of slow-growing, non-melanoma skin cancer acquired by over-exposure to the sun.
The Hollywood star had posted a “selfie” on Instagram, just after his operation. He was not only sporting a bandaged nose, but his photographic social networking page carried with it a strong message for his fans and followers, urging them not to be foolish like he had been, by not getting himself checked sooner. He also strongly recommended the use of sunscreen. Jackman’s condition, had it gone untreated for years, could have resulted, in a worse case scenario, with facial disfigurement of the surrounding tissue, had it not been for his loving wife, who made sure that he followed through with a check up.
According to the British Association of Dermatologists, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), is a common form of skin cancer, caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from either the sun or sunbeds. BCC tends to affect the most commonly exposed areas, such as face, head, neck and ears. The Association also states that those most at risk are people who are fair skinned and freckly, fair haired, rarely tan and burn easily, although there are also people with dark hair and fair skin who can still be affected. People who inhabit sunny climates, spend much of their time living or working outdoors, those who sunbathe or use sunbeds and people who have previously been exposed to BCC are also said to be at risk.
The appearance of BCC can vary, although what can generally alert a person that they could have it is if they have a scab that bleeds and does not seem to heal. It can appear as a scaly red flat mark or have a rim around it. If left for years, it can turn into an ulcer, with tiny nodules or tiny, visible blood vessels. They can often be rather itchy and have a tendency to bleed, particularly if picked or caught on a garment of clothing.
In any case, it is strongly advised to get it checked, for peace of mind and early treatment. BCC can just as easily be cured – if caught in time – and luckily for Jackman and his proactive wife, his was successfully treated and removed.
What many of us tend to forget is how to sunbathe sensibly, for want of a better phrase. When on an exotic holiday getaway, catching the first glimpse of the tropical or sub-Saharan sun, sea or sand and in a quest to chase the winter blues away, what one can forget most to pay attention to is the time. Between the hours of 11am and 3pm are said to be the danger hours, when the sun is at its highest – and hottest. These are the hours in which we tend to burn easily, experience sunstroke or skin cell damage, especially when we are so carefree and relaxed, that the heat causes us doze off.
But whether we’re on holiday or just happen to live in a hot climate, a stronger sunscreen is still required – from around SPF 30 upwards, with a UVA protection. If we decide to take a dip in the ocean or swimming pool, it is still recommended that we reapply a generous layer of sunscreen. Just because sunscreen has been applied generously, does not mean that one cannot tan. Another thing to bear in mind is that one does not have to be in direct sunlight in order to get a tan. Believe it or not, via the ever-present UVA rays, it is still possible to acquire a tan from sitting in the shade.
As it turns out, Jackman is not the only celebrity to encourage his fans to take precautions in the fight against cancer. Avengers star, Samuel L Jackson, 64, said earlier this year that men never talk about their health issues unless they have injuries such as a sprained ankle. He went on that when it came to serious illnesses like cancer, men simply would not talk about it, adding that most men seem to think that prostate cancer is the only type of cancer suffered by their gender and that most other cancers are conditions only suffered by women.
The Hollywood action star, who is in the pre-production stages for his return as Nick Fury in the anticipated Avengers sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, said that he was motivated to talk about cancer as a male medical condition when he discovered that a close friend of his had been trying to cope with his own cancer in private. As a result, Jackson decided to put his voice behind the One For The Boys charity, to raise more awareness and support for men suffering from the condition.
Following this scare, it appears to be business as usual for Hugh Jackman, who is currently reported to be in talks with director, James Mangold, about writing a new Wolverine movie, said to be a follow up on next year’s eagerly-awaited X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Written by Brucella Newman
If you know of anyone who is concerned or would like to know more about BCC, you can find out more on these websites: