Bob Roberts hopes his warnings will help save other anglers, after skin cancer has also struck many of his close friends.
The River Trent and all-round ace has had surgery to try to save his life.
The Doncaster, South Yorkshire, angling journalist revealed: “I visited the doctor a few months back with a slight concern.
“He took one look and said matter-of-factly: ‘Yes, that’s cancer.’ Not exactly what you want to hear.
“I may have thousands of friends and followers on social media, but if you ask me how many of them have been invited to eat in my home, we are talking around 20.
“Out of those people, I am the fourth to have surgery for skin cancer in recent times.
“That’s incredibly high odds by any standard, don’t you think? One in five, and what do we have in common? We are all regular anglers.”
Sun cancer risk for anglers
“Anglers spend a lot of time near water,” Bob continued.
“The sun’s rays shine down on us, and they also reflect back at us from the surface of the water.
“We are exposing ourselves twice without a second’s thought about the consequences.
“How many of us apply sun blocker or skin protection before we go fishing? Too much trouble?
“Check those odds again. One in five. It came as a shock to me.
“I’m assured my cancer will not spread to other organs, but success does not come with a guarantee.
“I’ll be back in hospital next month for a second op to repair the first one cosmetically.
“The alternative was months of daily visits to Sheffield for radiotherapy.
“Does using a bit of sunblock sound alarmist, or does it make common sense?”
Time to raise cancer awareness
Bob stressed: “Think about it. If you are an angler, do yourself a favour. It’s a small precaution to take if it means one in five can avoid a great degree of pain and worry.
“It is time to raise awareness, as we don’t take the issue serious enough,” concluded the former top matchman.
The National Health Service recommends high-factor sunscreen, dressing sensibly in the sun, and limiting the amount of time that you spend outside during the hottest part of the day.
NHS advice is to check your skin for signs of skin cancer regularly, to help lead to an early diagnosis, increasing your chance of successful treatment.
Find out more about skin cancer on the NHS website.
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Running from 1964 until 2020, Angler's Mail was the UK's leading weekly magazine devoted to coarse fishing, telling readers everything they needed to know about which fish to catch, where to catch them, and what kit they needed to do it. Now, loads of the magazine's expert advice can be found on Advnture.com, as a helpful resource for angling newcomers and experts alike.