Hugh Jackman Seeks To Raise Skin Cancer Awareness After Fifth Diagnosis

Australian film actor Hugh Jackman has had his fifth run-in with skin cancer. He alerted followers of the dangers of the cancer after he had a cancer “blot” removed from his face.

He posted about the minor surgery on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with a picture of his face sporting a bandaged nose and the caption, writing, “An example of what happens when you don’t use sunscreen. Basal cell. Mildest form of cancer. USE SUNSCREEN PLEASE!!”

For those concerned about Jackman’s health, the procedure was reported as a complete success.

“He had a basal cell removed [Monday] morning,” Jackman’s representative told People following the surgery. “The margins are clear and he’s fine.”

As mentioned earlier, this is the fifth time he’s been diagnosed with skin cancer in his 47 years. His first run-in with the most common form of cancer was in 2013 when he had a basal cell carcinoma removed. His wife of 20 years, Deborra-Lee Furness, noticed a strange mark on his nose and recommended he get it checked out.

Sure enough, the doctors discovered that it was, in fact, cancerous. Since that time, he has been treated several times for basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

As he mentioned in his posts, BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. In fact, 75 percent of all skin cancers are BCC, and it’s particularly common among fair-skinned populations. It’s characterized as an abnormal, uncontrolled growth or lesion on the skin. It generally has the appearance of an open sore, red patch, pink growth, shiny bump, or scar that suddenly appears. It might look like any other sore or blemish at first, but you’ll know it’s worth getting checked out if it shows no signs of healing after a week of observation.

The good news is, BCC rarely spreads past the original tumor site, meaning it’s generally restricted to the abnormal growth. However, in rare cases, it can spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening, but most people catch the issue in time and receive treatment.

According to Jackman, it’s not uncommon for people in Australia to develop skin cancer. He told People shortly after his 2014 diagnosis, “It was always a bit of a shock hearing the word ‘cancer.’ Being an Australian [skin cancer] is a very common thing. I never wore sunscreen growing up so I was a prime candidate for it.”

At the premiere of "X-Men Days of Future Past" in 2014, Jackman arrived with a sore on his face, that he later had diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma and removed. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Since that time, however, his eyes have been opened to the unparalleled risks, and he’s now advocating that everyone wear sunscreen and help spread the word about skin cancer awareness. He even launched his own sunscreen line called Pure Sun Defense, which has the underlying agenda of spreading the word.

He also reported that getting checked out for cancer is a regular thing for him. With so many run-ins, he knows he can’t be too careful.

“I go every three months for check-ups,” he said. “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.”

Approximately three million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the United States each year. In Australia, it’s estimated that one in every 14 individuals will be diagnosed with BCC each year, and that over 96 percent of those afflicted are 40 years of age or older. In other words, Hugh Jackman’s fifth run in with skin cancer will likely not be his last.

[Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images]