2022-11-24 17:47:41

Ex-Arsenal and England star Paul Merson opens up about skin cancer battle

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The Mirror
By Press Association

While the 2022 World Cup may be taking place during UK winter, fans travelling to Qatar will have to contend with high temperatures and lots of sunshine, meaning sunscreen is a must.

Having survived skin cancer, former England footballer Paul Merson never skips sunblock nowadays, but that wasnt the case when he was still playing professionally.

I would never put cream on, says Merson, who played for Arsenal for 11 years and earned 21 caps for England in the 90s. I was a sun worshipper Im not going to lie. We have this thing of like, you get suntanned, you just feel better about yourself, and I was one of those people.

In 2012, after putting off a visit to the doctor for months, Merson got a mole on his back tested and two days later received the devastating news.

My doctor said, Youve got melanoma, you need to come in ASAP. I just burst into tears. I went in the next day or the day after and I had it cut out. I had 50 stitches in my back.

Fortunately, the cancer hadnt spread, Merson recalls: They were waiting to see if I would have to take tablets or have chemo. They said, Another two or three months, we wouldnt have been able to do anything. And that was just through pure laziness, if Im being honest.

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