Hugh Jackman’s Cancer Is Back, And His Powerful Warning Is Sobering.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Furthermore, one American dies every hour from skin cancer.
Despite the scary statistics, the EPA says "unprotected exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer." Australian actor Hugh Jackman knows too well the consequences of not applying sunblock. He has undergone six cancer treatments since it was first diagnosed in 2013
It may be a case of irony for the Aussie actor.
He played the iconic role of Wolverine/Logan, the mutant who self-heals wounds and diseases.
In reality, Jackman was born in hot and sunny Australia.
"Our rule as kids growing up was that you get burned and peel two or three times then you're set. That was your base," Jackman told ABC News. "I mean, it was crazy."
It was during the filming of X Men: Days Of Future Past, that Jackman noticed blood on his nose.
He said he assumed he got hurt and didn't notice it right away in one of his physically demanding scenes.
"And 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,'" he explains.
"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," Jackman admits.
Jackman casually mentioned the cut to his wife, former actor Deborra-Lee Furness.
She urged her husband to get the cut checked immediately.
Jackman was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.
This is the most common type of cancer and also the least dangerous.
This type of cancer grows on the skin that was exposed to a lot of sun.
"So here's the thing: One sunburn, you're susceptible to cancer. One. And all of this is 25, 30 years after, the doctor told me," he reveals.
Jackman says the diagnosis came as a surprise.
"It’s always a bit of a shock just hearing the word 'cancer,'" he told People.
"I was trying to keep calm about it but it wasn’t until (his skin cancer surgeon) Dr. Michael Albom really explained to me that what I had, in a way, was the kind of skin cancer you want to have if yo
"Basal cell carcinoma is just something you have to deal with. It’s cancerous. It will grow. You just have to get it out," he points out.
Since his first diagnosis in 2013, Jackman as had a total of six skin cancers removed.
Five from his nose and one from his shoulder.
He has been open, sharing his experience on social media.
He is encouraging anyone who will listen to wear sunscreen.
He has even launched a line of sunscreen for kids called Pure Sun Defense.
He hopes to raise awareness how sun exposure can have serious consequences.
"I go every three months for checkups," Jackman reveals.
"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," he adds.
Doctor Michael Albom, who treated Jackman, says to look for anything that looks unusual.
"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,'" Dr. Albom explains.
Dr. Albom is impressed how Jackman has dealt with the diagnosis and treatment.
"I give Hugh a lot of credit for speaking out," he says.