Even celebrities get skin cancer


Last week Aussie actor Hugh Jackman had another skin cancer removed from his nose. This is his 6th or 7th skin cancer. Just goes to show no one is immune to the harsh effects of the Aussie sun!

So exactly what type of skin cancer did Jackman have?

For simplicity, I like to categorise skin cancer into three main types. 

1) Malignant Melanoma (MM) - the one you don't want to get. A nasty skin cancer that has the propensity to spread around the body to lymph nodes and other organs. It can be fatal.

2) Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) - you'd chose this over a melanoma. Originates from a precursor lesion, actinic keratosis. Can spread, rarely.

3) Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) - the one you want to get! Grows very slowly over many years, tends not to spread and can be dealt with easily with simple surgery most of the time.

Often people confuse BCC with a benign growth. BCCs, along with SCCs and melanomas are ALL malignant. It is just their metastatic (spreading) potential that differs.

All of them are the result of sun, BCCS in particular the result of cumulative UV exposure. Its likely that a lot of the sun damage causing these BCCS was done at a younger age. But I would always advise sun protection to prevent further damage.

photo @thehughjackman

BCCs, and other skin cancers can be detected early with regular skin checks. Hugh gets one every 3 months! Hopefully it will encourage fellow Aussies to have regular skin checks and stay out of the sun!

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