Mark Richards and Hunter Melanoma Foundation have joined forces to help save lives.
The foundation provided more than 700 free skin checks over summer "many of which were life-saving", the foundation's executive officer Claudia Tolhurst said.
Ms Tolhurst said Richards posted on Instagram about the free skin checks, prompting "a lot more people to get their skin checked at our pop-up skin clinic at Cooks Hill Surf Club".
This included another well-known local surfer "who hadn't had a skin check in over a decade".
Data shows one in 25 males and one in 30 females in the Hunter Region will suffer from melanoma, which is the most common cancer among those aged 15 to 39.
Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 75.
Richards recently had three skin cancers removed, all of which were squamous cell carcinomas.
"I've been lucky that none of them have been melanoma," he said.
He urged people to protect their skin from the sun and get regular skin checks.
"In the last few years, every skin check I've had has found areas that needed freezing or surgery," he said.
Ms Tolhurst said most sun damage is done in the first 15 years of life. "After that, the damage accumulates with sun exposure," she said.
She said being sun-smart, especially at an early age, was "the best way to prevent melanoma".
"Melanoma doesn't discriminate. No matter what your skin tone or age is, you are at risk of developing melanoma. Early detection is the best way to treat melanoma, which is why we encourage people to get regular skin checks."
If detected early, melanoma is less likely to "invade downwards from the surface and reach the layers that enable it to spread to other areas of the body".
"Once melanoma has spread, it is much more difficult to control and treat. If detected early, melanoma has a 90 per cent cure rate," Ms Tolhurst said.
In the 1980s when the foundation was formed, the Hunter had the highest incidence of melanoma per capita in the world. It is now ranked eighth.
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