Former footballer Vinnie Jones has revealed he is battling skin cancer.

The 48-year-old, who turned to acting after hanging up his boots, told the Sun on Sunday (£) it is the greatest challenge he has ever come up against.

Cancer is a horrible word to hear. It frightens the life out of you. 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 also revealed that his wife Tanya is fighting the same disease, a result of drugs she has to take following a heart transplant 26 years ago.

Jones found a lump under his eye, and did not know whether it was a wart or a spot until he went to get it checked out.

The ex-midfielder told the newspaper: "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."

The Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels actor has had three operations to remove cancerous patches: Two under his eye and one on the back of his head.

Vinnie Jones and wife Tanya Jones at a movie premiere in 2010 Credit: Benkey/AFF/EMPICS Entertainment

He told the Sun on Sunday he is worried about where he may find another.

"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 said.

Jones said he had never done much sunbathing, but thinks he developed the disease from working outside on building sites and football training grounds, and taking part in outdoor hobbies like fishing.

He warned others: "If you spot something on your skin that doesn't feel right, like a little spot or tick, then get it checked out immediately."

Read: Vinnie Jones: Monster Munch aside, I don't miss England