Awareness about skin cancer amongst cricketers is must

Australia captain Michael Clarke was operated to remove three skin cancers from his nose and lips © Getty Images

England’s county team Warwickshire is reportedly conducting skin cancer test ahead of a new season as a part of its programme to create awareness amongst players about the disease as its a big problem in the UK, with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed every year.


The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) has been actively involved in screening players for skin cancer since 2009. The union feels such tests will spread awareness amongst players who spend most of their times outdoors. Skin protection is one of the least talked about topics by media and deserves a lot of attention as professional cricketers these days spend majority of their time either training or playing under the sun.


Sportsmen are role models and should set an example. The example set by Warwickshire sends a great message to common people that protecting skin is our responsibility and its health should not be taken for granted. People belonging to all walks of life from salesmen to farmers to cab drivers spend a majority of their daily time in the hot sun, and are vulnerable to skin diseases.


Australian captain Michael Clarke was named ambassador of Cancer Council in 2010, a non-government organisation in Australia involved in spreading awareness about cancer to a wider audience. Clarke, who has had two skin cancers removed from his face, has been actively involved in encouraging cricket fans in Australia to use sun protection as prevention.


Australia, like many other western countries has a large number of skin cancer patients. Around 430,000 Australians are believed to be diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and at least 1700 succumb to the disease.


Skin cancers are generally caused due to prolonged exposure to the sun. It could be easily prevented unless taken necessary precautions. Unfortunately a county cricketer had to pay the price for not taking necessary precautions in February earlier this year. Mark Jasper, a Devon Cricket Club cricketer in England, lost his battle to skin cancer. The 43-year old cricketer suffered severe sunburn during a domestic match in New Zealand and eventually died.


Jasper’s example should be considered as an alarming by cricketers, and the International Cricket Council, along with other cricket administrators like the PCA in England and Cancer Council in Australia should spread awareness amongst cricketers as well as masses to ensure there are no lives claimed due to skin cancer.