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  • E!Online reports via The Sun that actor Vinnie Jones is battling skin cancer, and that his wife Tanya has also struggled with the deadly disease in the past.

    48-year old Vinnie Jones first appeared on film in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and since then has played a variety of thugs and hooligans and tends to have a rough and tumble personal life as well. Still, he says in the interview, cancer is the toughest fight he’s been in yet.

    “Cancer is a horrible word to hear. It frightens the life out of you. I’ve faced the biggest and ugliest lads on the football field and been in some nasty bar brawls. But this is my toughest and scariest opponent yet.”

    Vinnie went to the doctor after feeling a lump under his eye and went to have it checked. It’s a good thing he did, because since then he has had two operations and cancerous patches of skin removed on the back of his head as well.

    “When the doctor said I had skin cancer, the first thing I thought was, ‘How long have I got?’ ” the former pro midfielder said. “A million and one things go through your head.”

    “It’s weighing very heavily on me all the time,” Jones, who says he never did much tanning but assumes that being a soccer player and general outdoorsman contributed, added.  ”It has really knocked me for six and made me reassess my life and goals…If you spot something on your skin that doesn’t feel right, like a little spot or tick, then get it checked out immediately.”

    As for his wife, doctors believe that her skin cancer was caused by a side effect of a medication she takes daily after receiving a heart transplant 26 years ago.

    “She has dealt with health issues every day since,” he said. “When it comes to things like this, women are stronger. Suddenly I’ve gone from the one helping her to the one that needs support. I’m trying to take the world in a bit more and appreciate my family and friends.”

    In the past, Vinnie’s only reported surgical needs were for plastic surgery that included 48 stitches after he managed to get in a bloody bar brawl.

    Vinnie says that he doesn’t usually spend a lot of time lounging in the sun, but The Sun speculates that playing sports like pro football in the outdoors probably increased his risk.

    Other stars have warned about the dangers of skin cancer and the importance of wearing sunscreen. The most recent star to be diagnosed was Hugh Jackman, who Instagrammed a photo of himself with a bandage on his nose after having a spot removed from his nose.

    Famous celebrities that have had spots removed in the past as a result of skin cancer include Eric Dane, Bruce Jenner, Ewan McGregor, Sarah Paulson and Anderson Cooper. And other stars like Bar Rafaeli have kept mum on whether or not they removed moles for medical or aesthetic reasons.