"Each day I get a little better . . . I'm back to the 'normal' Jack'".
Pāpāmoa resident Jack Jackson, 72, is well on the road to recovery after his shock breast cancer diagnosis about six months ago which left him "stunned".
Originally from the south of England, the former Royal Air Force technician moved from Whangārei to Tauranga around three years ago.
He had asked his doctor about a painful lump in his chest about a year before he moved but he was told it was nothing.
He had surgery at Tauranga Hospital where a significant amount of skin was cut out, leaving him with a "Zorro"-like scars.
Reflecting back on his treatment, he did not think the radiation therapy affected him much at the time.
"But it builds up over the sessions and comes home to roost," he said. "You run out of energy quite quickly. I was sitting in a chair and nana-napping."
He was now out hitting the pavement on long walks to drop extra weight he gained while going through treatment and surgery.
His follow-up appointments with the surgeon and radiation clinic were all clear. From here, Jackson would need a check-up every six months for the next two years. After the two-year mark, he would have once yearly check-ups.
"[The doctors] are quite confident they've got everything," he said.
Once he had passed the two-year mark, he was set to be a "buddy" for other sufferers through support service Breast Cancer Support Tauranga.
Jackson said the support he received was instrumental to maintaining a positive frame of mind during the treatment.
Women who had suffered the disease themselves had particularly been empathetic towards him.
"They've been there like rocks . . . The help was just there for you."
HIs wife, Jenny, had also been supportive the whole way through.
"She has been 100 per cent positive the whole way through," he said.
"Any man or woman needs their family on board. Don't try and hide it."
Breast cancer in the Bay
The latest available statistics on the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer in the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.
2016 - 162 women, 1 man
2015 - 200 women, 1 man
2014 - 220 women, 2 men
Source: Ministry of Health