Sun & Skin News

Is Basal Cell Carcinoma Serious? Let’s Ask Hugh Jackman.

By Ali Venosa • August 11, 2021
Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman knows a lot about skin cancer. In August, 2021 the Australian actor posted an Instagram video after having a second skin biopsy in two years. He urged fans to get their skin checked. “A couple of notes… please get skin checks often, please don’t think it won’t happen to you and, above all, please wear sunscreen.”

Jackman is committed to raising awareness by using social media to discuss his skin cancer history. In a follow-up post, he explains “If by posting about this I remind one person to go see their dermatologist, I’m happy.”

Spreading the Word on Social Media

In 2017, the last time Jackman dealt with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), he posted a photo of himself on Instagram showing the aftermath of skin cancer surgery. He assured fans he was okay in his post’s caption, thanking frequent skin checks and amazing doctors.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, with more than 3.6 million cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. BCC almost never spreads beyond the original tumor site though, and the cure rate after excisional surgery is above 95 percent in most body areas. So, is this form of cancer even something to worry about?

“Basal cell carcinoma is not something to be taken lightly,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Once you’ve been diagnosed with a BCC, it’s very likely that you will develop more over the years, leading to continuous treatment and possibly even disfiguration.”

Those who have had BCC are at risk for recurrence either in the same area (like Jackman, who has battled multiple BCCs on his nose) or other areas of the body. This recurrence has made BCC the most frequently occurring form of all cancers: more than one out of every three new cancers is a skin cancer, and the great majority are BCCs.

Simple Advice

Jackman’s advice for avoiding a battle like his is simple: wear sunscreen. Ours is to use a complete sun protection strategy – sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, or simply seeking shade wherever you can. Ninety percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers like BCC are associated with the sun’s UV rays. This means that, with the right behaviors, they’re also generally preventable.

So, take a cue from Hugh – protect your skin to avoid time-consuming, potentially painful, disfiguring and costly treatments later.

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