BIG MESSAGE: Adam Bocking (far right, back row), with members of the Family health Clinic team.
BIG MESSAGE: Adam Bocking (far right, back row), with members of the Family health Clinic team. Ebony Graveur

Sunspots flare up, haunting man about his sunning past

PART of Adam Bocking's seaside routine involved digging a trough in the sand in which to recline.

It helped the sunlight reflect on the skin, he said. Gave you a better tan.

This was back in the 1960s when the "tanner you were, the healthier you were".

Or so people thought.

"I came up in the age when the better the tan you had, the more it was socially acceptable," Adam said.

He remembers lathering himself in coconut oil.

"It's virtually cooking oil," he said.

"You would cover yourself... We used to lie on the beach in a hole dug in the sand."

More than 50 years later, the damage has long set in on Adam's skin.

"I never had any problems with it until I went to the doctor's a few months ago," he said.

"My doctor enquired about a little mark I had on my nose and I told him I'd had it for a couple of years."

He showed his doctor his upper arm.

"I have another one here," he told his doctor.

His doctor took samples of both the spots and found one of them was a melanoma - the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Since then, Adam has had multiple skin cancers cut out.

His friend from Brisbane was not so lucky.

"He had a little freckle on the inside of his ear, just at the back... He had it checked out and it was cancerous," Adam said.

"Eighteen months later, he was dead."

Adam stays out of the sun whenever he can and always wears a hat. He has his skin checked for cancer every three months.

"It's something you never think of," he said.