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Fact Check: What Type Of Cancer Did Sean Lock Have?

Laura Sanders

| Last updated 

Fact Check: What Type Of Cancer Did Sean Lock Have?

British comedian and 8 Out Of 10 Cats star, Sean Lock, sadly lost his battle with cancer on 18th August and passed away at the age of 58.

He leaves behind his wife and three children and millions of adoring fans, who have been paying tribute to him.

Sean Lock's final public video has since surfaced and it couldn't be any more inspiring and representative of his kind nature (as well as his dry sense of humour).

Fact Check: What type of cancer did Sean Lock have?


Speculation online has suggested that Lock died from skin cancer due to an earlier incident in his life, but this hasn't been verified and should be treated as unproven.

In 1990, Lock was diagnosed with skin cancer after an acquaintance noticed a strange-looking mark on his back and alerted him to it.

"I asked her what it looked like, and she said it was a patch of skin which was black, misshapen, with a crusty texture and about the size of a 10p piece," he said.

"I had no idea how long it had been there. It didn't hurt or itch, so there was nothing that would have drawn my attention to it.


"Being in the small of my back, it was not something you could easily see while looking in a mirror."

Before breaking into TV, Lock was a builder, a job he attributed to his cancer diagnosis due to the long and repeated exposure to the sun. He admitted he often didn't bother putting on sunscreen or covering up his skin with clothing.

The cancer was successfully treated and at present there is no indication that his recent illness and the earlier diagnosis are linked.

Skin cancer symptoms and types


Most skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun. There are two main types of skin cancer:

  • Non-melanoma - the most common type of skin cancer which develops in the upper epidermis and is less likely to spread to other parts of the body.
  • Melanoma - which develops in the deeper layers of the skin from a mole, has a greater chance of spreading to other organs, and affects around one-fifth of people in the UK each year.

According to reports, Lock was diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer and if he had left it any longer, the cancer would have moved to his lymphatic system and spread around his body.



"Skin cancers can look very different and the symptoms can vary," according to Cancer Research UK. Also, the symptoms of skin cancer can be similar to other conditions, but it's important to get anything unusual checked out straight away.

The most common symptoms of skin cancer include a sore, ulcer, lump or red patch on the skin which:

  • Doesn't heal within 4 weeks
  • Looks unusual
  • Hurts, is itchy, bleeds, crusts or scabs for more than 4 weeks
Basal Cell (non-melanoma) skin cancer. (Credit: Cancer Research)
Basal Cell (non-melanoma) skin cancer. (Credit: Cancer Research)
Melanoma skin cancer. (Credit: Cancer Research)
Melanoma skin cancer. (Credit: Cancer Research)

Early diagnosis of any form of cancer is key to having the best chance of making a full recovery. As Lock said, he wouldn't have known about his skin cancer if it hadn't been for somebody noticing it on his back, so it's important to check your skin regularly and get somebody else to check the areas you can't see.

Cancer Research UK says it's important that any abnormalities for you, even if they don't completely match the most common symptoms, should be checked out by a doctor immediately.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Celebrity, TV and Film, Cancer, Health

Laura Sanders
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