Jade Custance never spent time as a teenager lying in the sun trying to get a tan.
"I didn't go out sunbaking. I'm blonde, fair-skinned, I don't tan," the 37-year-old told AAP.
"Growing up I'd been sunburnt here or there but not any more than anyone else I would think."
But after having 13 potentially serious skin cancers removed as an adult, the mother-of-two has become vigilant - applying sunscreen daily and having her skin checked quarterly.
"I've learnt early detection is the best defence, it takes just five minutes to get your skin checked and its definitely worth it," she said.
Research commissioned by life insurance company TAL found just 36 per cent of people have had a skin check in the past 12 months, while 29 per cent have never had one.
While two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before they are 70, 45 per cent are not aware of how prevalent it is.
"Skin cancer is a bigger issue than many Australians realise," Dr Sally Phillips said.
"Our research found that a large proportion of Australians know that skin cancer is easily treated if diagnosed early, yet most people have not had a skin check in the last year.
"Early detection can literally save a life."
The insurer's research coincides with the release of a Cancer Council Victoria survey on Thursday, which found almost 40 per cent of adults suffered a painful sunburn last summer.
One in five Victorians had been sunburnt at least once, while seven per cent admitted they had been painfully burnt three or more times.
About four people were admitted to hospital each day in January 2018 for sunburn.
Australian Associated Press