The new Australian of the Year has revealed his "future [is] now measured in months rather than decades".
Professor Richard Scolyer is a joint winner with Professor Georgina Long, his friend and co-medical director at the Melanoma Institute Australia.
Dr Scolyer has incurable grade 4 brain cancer.
"I don't want to die," the 57-year-old said in his acceptance speech.
His friend and colleague Dr Long said she "[hopes] for nothing more than the both of us, in 12 months' time, to be standing here, passing the baton".
Ending melanoma deaths
Dr Scolyer and Dr Long's immunotherapy approach to advanced melanoma, which activates a patient's immune system, has made the disease curable.
They dedicated their speech to melanoma patients who did not survive.
"Our thoughts are always with those families where our breakthrough treatments came too late. We are forever indebted to your loved ones and all our patients for their selfless commitment to research, which has changed the future for others. That is Aussie mateship at its very best," Dr Long said, to applause from the audience.
They called for influencers and advertisers to "stop glamourising tanning" and want a national melanoma strategy, along with more targeted screening.
"We can love this sunburnt country without the sunburn. Our mission is zero deaths from melanoma," Dr Long said.
Shock incurable cancer diagnosis
Dr Scolyer's personal story has also captured Australia's attention.
The Launceston-born pathologist's life changed when he suffered a seizure on a work trip in Poland in May last year.
Subsequent scans showed he had stage four glioblastoma, an aggressive and often terminal brain cancer.
As Dr Long said it in their acceptance speech, "the stakes became personal".
"I stand here tonight as a terminal brain cancer patient. I'm only 57. I don't want to die. I love my life, my family, my work. I've so much more to do and to give," Dr Scolyer said.
"I'm one of the many thousands of cancer patients who've travelled this path, and thousands will follow."
The researcher has spoken openly about his fear of death. He has three teenage children.
Two weeks before the diagnosis, Dr Scolyer and his eldest daughter represented Australia in an aquathon.
"I love my life, my family, my work. I've so much more to do and to give," he said.
Dr Scolyer volunteered himself as a human guinea pig for innovative treatments administered by Dr Long and other colleagues.
"Devising this world-first experimental treatment for my type of brain cancer was bold. For me, the decision to take on Georgina's ground-breaking plan was a no-brainer," he said.
"Here was an opportunity for us to crack another incurable cancer and make a difference - if not for me, then for others."
Dr Scolyer is the world's first brain cancer patient to have pre-surgery combination immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps boost the immune system to help the body find and destroy cancer cells.
Neoadjuvant immunotherapy treatment is when immunotherapy is administered before surgery, with the goal of shrinking a tumour or stopping the spread of cancer to make surgery less invasive and more effective.
Dr Scolyer posted a positive news update about his condition on Tuesday.
"Still no recurrence of my supposedly incurable #glioblastoma!!" he posted to social media.
"Median time to recurrence for all patients is six months; I'm now out to eight months!"
- with Stephanie Dalton
Senior Australian: Teacher of excellence and linguist recognised
Young Australian: Australia's golden girl of the pool collects another accolade