London: Skin cancer prevention should be a priority for cricketers and fans spending hours under the sun, England wicketkeeper Sam Billings has warned after suffering a scare last year.
Billings underwent two operations last year to remove a malignant melanoma on his chest following a routine screening organised by his county Kent.
The 31-year-old said his melanoma was caught just in time and that he almost missed the screening to attend a meeting.
“I had a melanoma that was 0.6mm (deep). The threshold of when it gets really serious is 0.7mm, so really close,” Billings told the Daily Telegraph.
“If I had left that screening to go to the meeting, and waited until my next one six months down the line it could have been far, far more serious.”
While searing heat and sunshine are regularly seen in Asia and Australia, Billings says conditions in Britain can be just as dangerous and that English players can be complacent.
Protection and education
“I’m not just talking about the pro game. It’s club cricketers, people who watch the game,” he said.
“I played at Lord’s recently and the sun was out, even if it wasn’t 25 degrees. It might only have been 18 but you can still get sunburnt. We treat it (applying suncream) like a bit of a chore, because the education around it isn’t as good as in countries like Australia.
“I’d like to see everyone in cricket working together: the sun is out, so let’s protect ourselves.”