Former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere has revealed that he has aggressive bladder and prostate cancer, but is vowing to fight the disease.
The 68-year-old, now an immigration adviser, is today being warded in an Auckland hospital for surgery to remove the tumour.
Delamere says he has the love and support of family and friends and remains hopeful of making a recovery.
"Both these just came up from the blind side, and you just deal with it. I told the doc 'you do what you've got to do'," he said.
Delamere said he considered himself lucky after his doctor ordered him to have a full medical check up after finding "things were not right".
"I was lucky, if my doctor hadn't been suspicious about something, otherwise by the time I found out, it could well have been too late," he said.
"I've had cousins who've died because they wouldn't go to the doctor, they died from treatable and curable cancer, for three years they had symptoms but were found out only when they collapsed."
Delamere said he will make it his mission to urge Kiwi men to take regular cancer checks.
"If I can convince just one person to get checked, it could be one person that's saved, if you like," he said.
"Swallow your pride, and if you don't like the feeling of a doctor putting his fingers up your a*se, then ask for a nurse."
Bladder cancer makes up about 3 per cent of all malignancies diagnosed in New Zealand each year.
It is more common in men than women and people over 60 years of age are more at risk.
Delamere said he also suffers from a heart condition and has irregular heartbeat.
The former New Zealand First MP has been a successful sportsmen and represented New Zealand in long jump and triple jump in the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.
At Washington State, he also pioneered the technique of full somersault in long jump competitions.
Delamere tried to keep things light during the interview, and joked that he could "compete in women's sports" if parts of his manhood had to be taken off.
He entered politics in the 1996 elections as a candidate in the Te Tai Rawhiti electorate, where he defeated Sir Peter Tapsell.
Delamere served as an MP until 1999, and was a member of the Cabinet during the term.
Since leaving Parliament, he established himself as an immigration adviser and founded the company of Tuariki Delamere and Associates, or TDA.
He has a reputation of fighting for hopeless cases and the underdogs.
In 2013, Delamere successfully won a case for a 22-year-old Indian man who was declined a visa under the partnership category because Immigration NZ did not believe his marriage to a 59-year-old Kiwi woman was genuine.
Delamere said he has been approached by a political party to stand as a candidate in the next election, and may consider a return to politics if he won the battle with cancer.
"I've got the love and support of my family and friends, and I'm going to fight this," he said.