This time last year - 86-year-old Papamoa resident Bill Goulin was so ill - he couldn't get off the couch without help.

"I'm quite sure, although I'm not a doctor, that his body was trying to fight all of these cancers," his partner Zelda Sayers said.

In fact, Mr Goulin had multiple melanoma skin cancers. He waited six months before going private for surgery - now finally, he's fighting fit.

"I've had no problems at all, the hands are clear, my head is clear, the skin on the top of my head is clear, my nose is clear - I had a big growth on there. Everything is great," Mr Goulin said.

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After the initial surgery, his doctor Franz Strydom also treated him with photodynamic therapy - or PDT.

It more than halves the likelihood of his at-risk patients getting further skin cancer - and having to fork out for more expensive surgery.

"There is so much more skin cancer happening on almost a daily basis, and it's certainly still increasing," Dr Strydom said.

As baby boomers age serious skin cancer is on the rise and the Bay of Plenty has the third highest rate of skin cancer in New Zealand, with nearly 3 and a half thousand diagnosed in the last six years.

So Dr Strydom has trained his nurses to provide skin checks themselves, with levels of training that exceed most doctors.

"They provide a service that is so integral in treating and beating skin cancer, that I think it is something that the rest of the country, and certainly the medical council and the nursing council should get involved in," Dr Strydom said.

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