Australian actor Hugh Jackman, better known as Wolverine from the X-Men series, recently posted an Instagram selfie much different than his usual gym photos, or shots hanging with his adorable pups. This particular picture was one urging his followers to take skin protection more seriously, opening us all up to a much needed discussion about skin cancer.
“An example of what happens when you don’t wear sunscreen. Basal Cell. The mildest form of cancer but serious, nonetheless, please use sunscreen and get regular check-ups,” Jackman captioned the image.
This has been Jackman’s 5th skin cancer removal since 2013, after his wife convinced him to get a mark on his nose checked out. Like many others, he didn’t take it seriously at first and didn’t get his first mole checked out until others starting bringing up the mark as well.
Skin cancer is still one of the most common forms of cancer, but also one of the most preventable. Many people, especially men, still don’t get regular mole checks like they should, even though early detection is the most important step when it comes to a successful recovery. Additionally, everyone has been guilty of skipping SPF at one point or another in order to get a golden tan, but as seen in Jackman’s selfie, it simply doesn’t pay off in the long run.
With Instagram flooded with celebrity selfies celebrating their flawless complexion, or the latest glowing makeup application, it’s easy to put these public figures on a pedestal, thinking not even cancer can touch them. However, the beauty of social media is that it also allows us to feel connected to celebrities. They become relatable figures that we can picture ourselves close with, which makes Hugh Jackman’s selfie so important. He makes a point to show that absolutely everyone, even a celebrity, can get skin cancer, and although his form of cancer is rarely fatal, it should be taken seriously nonetheless.
Hugh Jackman speaking out about his condition not only raised awareness for prevention and the importance of detectability, but also gave people a platform to open up about their own skin cancer stories, furthering the note that any one is susceptible to sun damage. Well wishes and personal cancer stories flooded Hugh’s Instagram account, temporarily giving many people a safe place to open up. Kudos to Hugh for sharing his story and reminding us of the importance of slathering on the SPF, even in the winter!