Finding out he is now cancer free is the best early 67th birthday present for Tauranga business leader Bill Holland.

It has also been also the "great news" hundreds of friends and supporters were praying for.

Holland, a partner of Holland Beckett law firm and the chairman of Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust, received the news last week that his cancer is in remission.

Holland's cancer journey began in July last year after routine blood tests during his yearly bill of health check-up with his GP revealed his iron levels had significantly dropped.


His iron levels had gone from 200 to 13, which is nearly anaemic.

Further tests in August revealed there was a cancerous polyp in his bowel and a month later he had surgery to remove 15cm of the affected area of bowel and five lymph nodes.

Holland then began six months of chemotherapy.

But a week before Christmas, after a PET scan, Holland received news that it appeared another small cancer patch was developing close to the area of the first growth.

His oncologist and surgeon feared the cancer was coming back, Holland said.

"My surgeon told if it was another cancerous growth and if he could not get it all, we could have to start talking about palliative care.

"We all know what that means. It was a huge shock and very scary news," he said.

Holland had surgery to remove the suspected second lump four weeks ago.


To everyone's surprise, Holland got the great news last week that it was not cancerous and his cancer is now in remission and he does not require more chemotherapy.

A second PET scan showed the CEA cancer marker levels were close to normal.

"I have had lots of people praying for me at the Holy Trinity church, and hundreds of others elsewhere in the country and across the world for my cancer to go away.

"Whether the [second] cancer was never there in the first place or prayer was responsible for no more cancer being found, I'm uncertain.

"However, it would be a brave man to say that prayer did not have anything to do with it. But whatever is responsible, I'll take it," a beaming Holland said.

Holland said his doctors would keep a close eye on him for the next two years, and at the end of five years, if there were no signs of further cancer, he would be given clearance.


"You have no idea what a huge relief it is. I'm so happy I'm now free to get on with my life again," he said.

Holland credits his habit of having regular medical check-ups for saving his life.

"If I hadn't we could have been talking about an entirely different outcome. My cancer was already at stage 3, and I didn't even know it."

He and his wife are planning a trip to Bali and he is also looking forward to celebrating his 67th birthday on March 22 with some Bluff oysters and a wee tipple.