Capitalising on his hard man image, Vinnie Jones swapped his football boots to play gangsters on the big screen. Yet, in his latest TV appearance, the public will see his softer side, as a certain illness gave him his biggest blow.
In July 2019, Vinnie’s wife of 25 years, Tanya, lost her life to cancer.
The couple were both diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in 2013, with Vinnie vowing to The Sun at the time that he’d fight it with “everything I’ve got”.
Vinnie did indeed do everything in his power to clear his body of the disease.
“Cancer is a horrible word to hear,” he confessed. “It frightens the life out of you.”
The 55-year-old underwent three operations to remove cancerous tumours from his face and head.
At first, Vinnie had mistaken his cancerous lump – underneath his eye – as a “blackhead or a little wart”.
What is melanoma skin cancer?
Cancer Research UK clarified that melanoma skin cancer begins in skin cells known as melanocytes.
These cells – responsible for making a pigment called melanin – are in the deep layer of the epidermis (i.e. skin).
The pigment melanin helps to protect the body from ultraviolet light (UV radiation) from the sun.
UV radiation can cause sunburn, which is a sign of skin damage; over time, enough damage can cause cells to grow uncontrollably, leading to cancer.
Risk factors for developing melanoma skin cancer include: fair skin types, lighter hair and eye colour, the number of moles you have and a family history of the disease.
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The charity reported that around 16,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year.
In order to spot melanoma, keep an eye out for any changes to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin.
Its vital to remember the ABCDE checklist when looking at an existing or new mark on the skin.
A – asymmetrical
This refers to the shape of the mole. Melanomas are likely to have an uneven shape.
B – border
This refers to the edges of the mole. Melanomas are more likely to have irregular edges (border) that might be blurred or jagged.
C – colour
This refers to the colour of the mole. Melanomas are often an uneven colour and contain more than one shade (eg. shades of black, brown or pink).
D – diameter
This refers to how wide the mole is. Most melanomas are more than 6mm wide.
E – evolving
Melanomas might change in size, shape or colour; they might bleed, itch or become crusty.
Cancer Research UK recommend people to see their GP if you have any of the ABCDE signs.
You do not need more than one ABCDE sign to get things checked out by a doctor.
Also book an appointment with the doctor if you have an unusual mark or lump on your skin that lasts for a few weeks.
Heartbroken, Vinnie will appear on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Saturday September 5th, at 10pm on ITV.