For John Seed, an ordinary weekend visit from his son, Scott, last November, resulted in a discovery that may have saved his life.  

Scott, who works in a veterinary clinic, spotted a concerning brown stripe on John’s right thumbnail, which he knew was a potential indicator of skin cancer. 

“As soon as he saw it, he said ‘Dad you need to go and get that checked out’”, says John. 

“Usually, I would ignore that kind of advice, but something was niggling at me.  I had a recollection that Bob Marley had a similar indicator but on his toe”. 

Knowing that his health insurance provider, UniMed, had a 20% off discount at MoleMap, the next day he booked an appointment online with his local clinic.  

“I was surprised that I was able to get in so quickly. It was such an easy process, and I was booked to go and get it checked three days later”. 

“I grew up in South Africa, in a generation where we would cover ourselves in sunflower oil and bake ourselves in the sun. If it hadn’t been spotted by my son and I couldn’t get the discount, I would probably never have gone and I’d be sitting here today blissfully unaware”.  

By Wednesday afternoon, John had undergone a comprehensive skin check. Despite his reservations, John appreciated the thoroughness and professionalism of the hour-long process. 

Less than 24 hours later, John got the phone call from the person who had done the skin check.  

They had found something.  

A potential melanoma had been discovered on his back and he was told that he needed to urgently get in touch with his doctor to get it removed.  

Luckily, John was able to get in the next day and the doctor was able to perform a minor surgery to remove the suspicious area. Thanks to his Health Plan with UniMed he was able to claim a significant portion of his medical expenses, reducing the stress of the already difficult process.  

However, his journey wasn’t over yet and John had to wait several weeks for the results of the biopsy on the lesion that was removed. 

When the results finally came in on Christmas Eve, John and his family were eager to hear the news on whether they had removed all of the melanoma.  

“They told me it was aggressive and they needed to do further intervention”, says John. 

When asked about his frame of mind after hearing the news, John laughs and says “S*** happens”. 

“My only regret is not having hospital cover as part of my UniMed Health Plan. If I had that, I would have got the test results a lot faster and everything could have been sorted before Christmas”. 

He says his family were a lot more stressed than he was and it was hard on his kids as they immediately thought of the worst-case scenario. 

“You do spend a lot of time on Dr Google and the Mayo clinic while you’re waiting for the results. The first thing anybody looks at with this kind of thing is the life expectancy for the type of cancer you have”. 

After hearing the news, John was immediately referred to Hutt Hospital Plastics, where surgeons ensured the complete removal of the melanoma. Because it was aggressive and the cancer was growing, left any longer, John was told it would have been a lot worse six months to a year later. 

The procedure also involved the removal of lymph nodes, leading to John developing a common condition known as cording. This condition creates tight bands or cords under the skin which can limit someone’s movement and cause discomfort. This new challenge required ongoing specialised physiotherapy to manage.  

While John is now melanoma free, he’s still aware that he’s got some more hoops to get through before he’s back to 100%. 

“I’m so glad I made the decision to get covered by UniMed. I am going to have ongoing costs as part of my recovery and contributions towards paying for things like the physio make my healthcare so much more accessible”.   

UniMed currently offer 20% off MoleMap skin check surveillance services for all UniMed Members. So far, over 700 Members have taken advantage of the offer, with MoleMap diagnosing 108 types of skin cancer across those Members. 

Despite the physical and emotional toll, John has maintained a remarkably positive outlook. He credits his resilient spirit to the unwavering support from his network of family and friends who continually checked in and provided encouragement and strength throughout the process. 

Reflecting on the journey, John is just grateful he was able to access healthcare affordably and accessibly. 

“Cancer is not the kind of thing where time is your friend. People need to realise that. For me to be able to go from a potential issue to diagnosis to removal all in a week – that’s a bloody good thing”. 

If you want to learn more about how you can take advantage of this offer, and book in your skin check, please go to our website: