Footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones has revealed that both he and his wife Tanya are battling skin cancer.

The 48-year-old – best known for his hardman roles in the likes of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch – told the Sun On Sunday that it is the greatest battle he has ever faced.

“Cancer is a horrible word to hear. It frightens the life out of you,” he admitted.

“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.”

He added that he was first diagnosed with cancer after seeking medical treatment for a lump under his eye.

When the doctor said I had skin cancer, the first thing I thought was, ‘How long have I got?’ A million and one things go through your head,” Vinnie admitted.

“They have cut out three bits so far and I’m constantly worried now about where I could find it next.

“It’s weighing very heavily on me all the time. It has really knocked me for six and made me reassess my life and goals.”

He added that Tanya has also been undergoing treatment for the disease, with her cancer caused by drugs she has been taking following a heart transplant operation 26 years ago.

“She has dealt with health issues every day since the operation,” he said of the 47-year-old.

“They now think her skin cancer is a result of the drugs she’s been taking since the heart transplant.

He admitted: “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.”