Hugh Jackman, the actor who famously portrayed Wolverine in the X-Men movie franchise, finds himself with quite possibly his toughest nemesis to date: skin cancer.
The popular Australian actor recently took to his Instagram account to talk about his own personal bout with the disease, as well as to advise his fans to take any and all necessary precautions to prevent skin cancer’s outbreak for themselves.
The 47-year-old Jackman noted that his recent discovery of a cancerous growth on his nose — his fifth since November 2013 — can be attributed to the all-too-common basal cell carcinomas. Per data collected from The Cancer Council and published by The Guardian, basal cell carcinomas accounts for about 70 percent of all non-melanoma skin cancers.
According to The Mayo Clinic, basal cell cancer occurs in the actual basal cell, which produces new skin cells when older cells die. Traditionally, it appears in the form of a waxy lump but can take many different forms. It is believed to be caused by long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
It is also one of the easiest to treat when caught early.
According to Jackman’s doctor, Michael Albom, the Australian actor’s warning for others is spot on. Albom told People:
“I give Hugh a lot of credit for speaking out. Hugh is on top of his game because he has been through this enough times now that he is acting on it properly. He is doing great and we are thrilled. Most people want to know what a skin cancer looks like. And I always say, ‘If you get a growth, a lump or a bump or something that looks a little odd to you, get it checked. See a dermatologist. Get a biopsy when warranted.'”
“It’s always a bit of a shock hearing the word ‘cancer‘,” said Jackman of the experience in that same May 2015 interview with People, which took place prior to his most-recent diagnosis. Still, Jackman remains an advocate of taking preventative measures to keep a common mole from turning into a much more serious complication.
He has also become ultra-aware that, because of his past exposure to UV rays, skin cancer could be a lifelong battle.
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) February 4, 2016
“I’m realistic about the future and it’s more than likely that I’ll have at least one more but probably many more [cancerous growths],” said Jackman in a 2014 statement, per The Guardian. “[It’s] not uncommon for an Aussie where I don’t remember ever being told to put sunscreen on.”
Recalling his first go-round with this disease for People, Jackman noted, “I was filming X Men: Days of Future Past. My makeup artist said ‘You’ve got a little spot of blood here on your nose’ and I said ‘Yeah, I know it was from a fight sequence and I knocked it somehow.’ And trust me for 17 years I’ve played Wolverine and I’ve had more scraps and cuts… I’m very clumsy with those claws.”
Had it not been for his wife, fellow actor Deborra-Lee Furness, the issue might have ended there and proved much more disastrous for Jackman. “Debb said to get the mark on my nose checked,” he told People. “Boy, was she right!”
Despite the alarming rate with which growths have continued to appear in recent years, Jackman revealed that he will continue to take the news in stride.
“I was trying to keep calm about it… basal cell carcinoma is just something you have to deal with. It’s cancerous. It will grow. You just have to get it out,” continued Jackman, via The Guardian. “I go every three months for checkups. It’s the new normal for me. My doctor says I’ll likely have more and if that’s your cross to bear in life, you should be so lucky.”
[Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images]