CHECK IT OUT: Having a skin cancer screen is vital to picking up on skin cancers. Rance Harrison (front, far right) is urging everyone to get checked.
CHECK IT OUT: Having a skin cancer screen is vital to picking up on skin cancers. Rance Harrison (front, far right) is urging everyone to get checked. Ebony Graveur

Brother's cancer plea: 'Get off your arse, get it checked'

Rance Harrison and his siblings grew up in the sun.

When they weren't sweltering mustering cattle, they were soaking up rays in nearby lagoons.

"My dad was a drover so we were constantly going from town to town to town," Rance said.

"We were jumping in, skinny dipping every chance we got in water holes."

As a child, Rance found sun exposure was considered "healthy" and seldom wore sunscreen.

Now 43, Rance is able to rattle off different places on his body from where sun spots have been removed.

"When I was young, I didn't have anything checked out and it's only in the past 12 months I've started having things checked out," he said.

When he noticed a couple of spots on his back were unusual, Rance considered his family's skin cancer history and made a mental note to have them looked at.

At his appointment, Rance's Family Health Clinic doctor gave him the all-clear about the spots - but found others on his body, which were more concerning.

"They found other spots and I wouldn't have even known because they were just a freckle to me," he said.

"It turned out one on my shoulder blade ended up being a BCC and I had another one under the spine which they were curious about."

A basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia, according to the Cancer Council.

BCCs can appear as a "pearly lump" or a "scaly, dry area that is shiny and pale or bright pink".

A squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) makes up 30 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers and can look like a a "sore that hasn't healed" and be tender to touch.

In total, doctors found four non-melanoma skin cancers - both SCCs and BCCs - on Rance's skin.

As unpleasant as it is to hear a doctor say they need to cut into your skin, it's better than waiting too long.

"I find it more pleasant to see they're finding the stuff and having it cut out than not know it's there at all," Rance said.

"The one thing I've learned is you don't stuff around with it... I have a friend who was diagnosed with melanoma and his outcome's not great because it was left too long."

Closer to home, Rance said his brother had not yet had his skin checked - despite being concerned about a lesion on his arm.

"He had the same childhood as me, works outdoors and is in the sun all day long," Rance said.

"He has done nothing about it...What is more scary? Dying of an un-found cancer or having it checked out? Get off your arse and have it checked out."

A skin cancer check at the Family Health Clinic in Gatton takes about 20 minutes.

Family Health Clinic practice manager Ellisha Freeman advised patients to have a screen annually at the very least.