When he was younger, Trev McKay never wore sunscreen and would purposely get sunburned until he was tanned.

"I thought nothing of it, you'd get burned and you'd suffer for a few days then that would be it," the 72-year-old Tauranga man said.

Three years ago he was diagnosed with melanoma - a disease that almost killed him.

Mr McKay started getting headaches, a pimple-like spot appeared on his scalp and he noticed his eyesight was going blurry. He thought it was his glasses.


He went to his doctor, who ordered the lump on Mr McKay's head to be cut out, but within a week it was back and kept growing.

A specialist told him that if he didn't cut it out properly, he would die.

"I never expected that it would happen to me," he told the Herald.

After the surgery, which required a 5cm wide and long cut in his head, Mr McKay has been left with a large scar - a reminder that the dangers of melanoma are real.

"Always wear sunblock or keep covered up or out of the sun," he says. "And if you go for a swim, reapply your sunblock, that's what I stress to my grandchildren to do."