If Adam Brook had longer hair, he may not have seen Christmas.
Earlier this year the Tamworth electrician and personal trainer thought a barber had "nicked a mole on my head with the clippers".
Further investigation would however reveal that the mole was in fact a stage 3C melanoma, and he had caught it just in time to save his life.
"After I thought the barber nicked it I went to the GP, and he just said to keep an eye on it, but a few months later I knew something was up so I went to see (Tamworth dermatologist) Dr Peek," Mr Brook said.
"He took one look, and put me on the table to cut it out - that was on Tuesday. On Sunday I had a phone call from Dr Peek's office, and I knew that it wasn't good news.
Within days Mr Brook was at the Melanoma Institute in Sydney having a series of tests done, before Dr Kerwin Shannon officially diagnosed "a 5 mm Stage 3C melanoma, which had spread into his lymph nodes down to his collarbone."
"That is the very last stage before the cancer enters your organs - the surgeon said that is the difference between removing it, and just making me comfortable," Mr Brook said.
"They predicted my melanoma was growing at a rate 55 per cent greater than normal - a few weeks more, or if I had longer hair and hadn't noticed - it could have been very different."
Mr Brook now boasts a 40 cm scar from above his ear, down his neck and along his collarbone to the chest, with somewhere in the vicinity of 80 stitches required.
"They removed 55 lymph nodes from my neck, and three of them were contaminated with cancer," he said.
"They do believe that everything has been removed, but because it was so thick and big there is concern that it could be in my blood, so I am having immunotherapy to build my system up to fight cancer just in case."
While the trainer has lost some feeling in his head, neck and shoulder, that pales in comparison to the alternative, although he does expect to regain full movement and strength in the coming months.
Since returning to Tamworth several of his friends and colleagues have been to have skin checks, and Mr Brook now wants to spread the message further.
"It hasn't been time in the sun, this mole was under my hair, and under my hat," he said.
"I had never had a skin check in my life, but everyone should have a check once a year, and if you notice anything get on to it straight away.
"By the time you make an appointment and get checked a few months can pass, so act straight away, and just get it done."
Melanoma is the most common cause of cancer for Australians between the age of 15 and 40, and kills one Australian every five hours, however early detection can lead to a simple cure.