‘Cricket isn’t the be all and end all, see my story and think twice’ - Sam Billings' warning after traumatic skin cancer experience
"Last October I had a bit of a reality check, two operations to remove skin cancer off my chest put cricket on the back burner for a little while and into perspective," Billings wrote on Instagram.
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England wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings revealed about the traumatic experience he had as as he underwent two operations to treat skin cancer in October 2022. He urged cricketers to be more diligent while playing and protect themselves due to being exposed to the sun on a frequent basis.
The Kent keeper-batter recalled that he took part in a skin cancer screening organised by his county cricket club in 2022. It was during the screening that the doctor claimed that a particular mole in his body ‘didn’t look great’ and was later removed upon which it was confirmed a melanoma.
“Last October I had a bit of a reality check, two operations to remove skin cancer off my chest put cricket on the back burner for a little while and into perspective. We all are pretty blasé when it comes to putting suncream on but it really has to change,” Billings captioned a post on his Instagram handle.
“As cricketers we’re exposed to the sun so much and we can all be more diligent. Cases have doubled over the last 20 years and will continue to double again over the next 20 years,” he added.
You realise that cricket isn’t the be all and end all: Sam Billings
Billings further shared his experience and stated that the traumatic experience gave him a different perspective towards life. Furthermore, he hoped that players would take heed of his experience and think twice about skin damage.
“It did give me the clarity of making decisions based on what I want to do rather than maybe just toeing the line and being seen to do the right thing. I have tried to do that over the years and it’s sometimes resulted in carrying drinks. You realise that cricket isn’t the be all and end all. It’s hugely important but you need to put things in perspective. It’s also made me much more empathetic," Billing told the Telegraph.
“I’ve been that classic Brit abroad, as a 22-year-old with fairer hair in Australia thinking that it was worth going a bit red to end up brown. And at home you see it all the time, it gets to 12 degrees and sunny, all the tops come off. I did’t think I’d be the guy who got skin damage. I hope people see my story and think twice," he added.