Vinnie Jones, Tanya Jones

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for BritWeek

Vinnie Jones is facing the fight of his life.

The famed footballer turned actor has revealed that he is battling skin cancer—and that his wife Tanya has been treated for skin cancer in the past as well.

"Cancer is a horrible word to hear. It frightens the life out of you," Jones, who made his feature film debut in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, told the U.K.'s Sun. "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."

As for his wife, Jones said that doctors think Tanya's condition could be due to side effects of medication she had to take after undergoing a heart transplant 26 years ago.

Snatch, Vinnie Jones

Columbia Pictures

"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.

The brawny 48-year-old athlete said that the cancer was diagnosed after he noticed a lump under his eye and went to the doctor to have it checked out.

Jones has since had two operations on the skin under his eye and one on the back of his head to remove cancerous patches.

"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."

His announcement came just days after Hugh Jackman revealed that he needed to have a Basal-cell carcinoma removed from his nose, joining the ranks of a number of celebs who have been affected by skin cancer.

"Please don't be foolish like me. Get yourself checked. And USE sunscreen!!!" he advised via Instagram.

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