Hugh Jackman: This Superhero Wants to Buy You Sunscreen

VVartanian on 21 Nov 2013 at 9:00am

hugh jackman skin cancer surgery basal cell carcinomaWhy did Hugh Jackman Instagram this pic of himself with a bandage plastered across his handsomely-rugged mug?

It's not a nose job if that's what you've got in mind ... but the action star did have some surgery.

Turns out, Hugh had a suspicious "mark" which his wife urged him to get checked -- and it was skin cancer. 

Specifically, basal cell carcinoma (or BCC) and, likely, the nose bandage is from a minor surgery to remove it.

So, if a superhero can get skin cancer, what does this mean for the rest of us? Well, you've got more in common with Wolverine that you think. 

BCC (pictured below) is the most commonly occurring form of cancer out there. And, it's caused by unprotected sun exposure. Hence, Hugh's Instagram plea for y'all to, "Get yourself checked. And USE sunscreen!!!"

basal cell carcinoma skin cancer hugh jackman

And, while you're at at -- check out some derm insight (on suspicious marks and moles) from a RealSelf Q & A with Dr. Bobby Buka:

"Most of my patients will identify a suspicious mole well before I do. That’s because moles that turn atypical (called “dysplastic” moles) do so very prominently.

Unlike some emerging cancers in your body that can grow undetected for years, skin cancer is usually immediately recognizable. Atypical moles do not 'hide' well at all, and you are the first line of defense to catch an emerging skin cancer before it gets serious and even potentially life-threatening.

What to look for? Well, the classic teaching is based off of the acronym, ABCD.

ABCD of skin cancer moles

  • A is for Asymmetry: The first thing to look for is a mole that looks different on one side versus another.
  • B is for Border: Moles that have jagged or irregular edges require further examination.
  • C is for Color: Moles that have three or more colors are begging for attention.
  • D is for Diameter: Moles that are larger than 6mm, classically, should be watched closely. Let’s amend this one to 'Expanding Diameter'.  That is, if you notice a mole that is growing rapidly, it should be tested. But if it’s been 10mm since you were in grade school, the likelihood of this mole being atypical is very unlikely.

More generally, dermatologists follow the 'Ugly Duckling' rule. If you find moles on your body that look different from the others, they are likely the same moles that we as dermatologists will notice.

Let’s say all of your moles are two-toned with borders that are a bit smudged, but one [mole in particular] has two colors and is perfectly symmetric. Even though its symmetry is reassuring, it’s different from all the other moles your body has made. That’s the mole that is more likely to be atypical under the microscope.

Finally, any mole that is symptomatic, whether itching, painful, tingly or burning – any symptom at all, is one that requires a skin biopsy from your dermatologist."

Want to read more about skin cancer and skin cancer surgery? Click here!