Newlywed footballer, 37, died from skin cancer after dismissing it as ‘just a boil’

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A NEWLYWED footballer has died of skin cancer – after dismissing a lump as “just a boil”.

Craig Bennett, originally from Llanelli in south Wales, passed away at the age of 37 two weeks ago – just days after his dream wedding.

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Craig had raised concerns after spotting a lump – but soon brushed it off as being ‘just a boil’[/caption]

The sportsman, who played for Caerbryn AFC, had raised concerns after spotting a lump – but soon brushed it off as probably being “just a boil”.

However, he was later diagnosed with skin cancer and went on to battle it for two years.

His “final wish” was to marry his partner of around eight years, Maria – which he did just two weeks before he passed away.

Craig’s best friend, Brookman Bennett-O’Sullivan, said: “He got married to Maria two weeks before he died and she supported and cared for him throughout it all. He adored her.

“He adored his small, black dog Dotty. She never left his side.

“I met him through football and we started training together. We classed each other as brothers and used to FaceTime each other twice a day, every day.”

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Craig’s ‘final wish’ was to marry his partner of around eight years, Maria[/caption]

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Craig’s best friend Brookman said the pair classed each other as brothers[/caption]

Craig, who was a Manchester United fan, worked in Cefn Coed Hospital in Swansea and even helped with coaching at his former football team while he was battling his illness.

His best friend added: “He was very respected and looked at like a role model by the younger players.

“He was at Caerbryn AFC for around four years and mainly played as a striker. He was a very good player.”

Signs and symptoms of skin cancer

Changes to a mole or freckle can be a sign of skin cancer, which is why it’s so important to see your doctor straight away.

The most common sign of skin cancer is a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin.

It’s important to know your skin and what it looks like normally so you notice any unusual or persistent changes.

Use a mirror, or ask your partner or a friend to check the areas of your skin that you can’t see.

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are more likely to develop on skin that is regularly exposed to the sun, especially on the face, head and neck.

They may:

  • be smooth and pearly
  • look waxy
  • appear as a firm, red lump or may look sunken in the middle
  • appear as a pearly brown or black lump if you have darker skin
  • feel itchy and bleed sometimes
  • develop a crust or scab
  • begin to heal but never completely heal
  • look like a flat, red spot that is scaly and crusty
  • look like a pale non-healing scar
  • develop into a painless ulcer

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma

SCCs usually develop in areas that have been damaged by sun exposure. In people with pale skin, they are mainly found on the face, neck, bald scalps, arms, backs of hands and lower legs.

In people with darker or black skin, SCCs are more likely to affect areas that have less or no sun exposure. These include the lower legs, torso, genitals or areas where there has been long-term scarring, for example after a burn.

SCCs may:

  • look scaly
  • have a hard, crusty scab
  • look pink or red
  • make the skin raised in the area of the cancer
  • feel tender to touch
  • bleed sometimes

Source: Macmillan

Craig’s funeral will be taking place in Llanelli and his fellow teammates will be wearing football jerseys in his honour.

A memorial football match at Caerbryn AFC has also been organised in his memory, with all proceeds going to Ty Bryngwyn Hospice.

The tournament will see Mr Bennett’s former teammates take on the club’s current team as a way of “celebrating his commitment to sport and his life”.

Just last month it was revealed that skin cancer rates in the UK have risen by 45 per cent in ten years.

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A memorial football match at Caerbryn AFC has been organised in Craig’s memory[/caption]

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Craig even helped with coaching at his former football team while he was battling his illness[/caption]

The study by Cancer Research UK also found rates of skin cancer have increased by 35 per cent for women and 55 per cent for men.

On top of this, the researchers noted that getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma.


Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “While some might think that a tan is a sign of good health, there is no such thing as a healthy tan, it’s actually your body trying to protect itself from harmful rays.”

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the second most common cancer in people aged 25 to 49 – although 90 per cent of melanoma cases could be prevented by looking after your skin and applying sunscreen regularly, both in the UK and abroad.

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Craig’s fellow teammates will be wearing football jerseys in his honour at his funeral[/caption]


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