January 8, 2024

A few days before Christmas, Bowel Cancer NZ ambassador Dean Barker shared with NZ Herald journalist Greg Bruce how he is doing mentally and physically in his bowel cancer journey.

America’s Cup skipper Dean Barker was diagnosed with bowel cancer back in 2019 at age 47, and in 2021, a CT scan found cancer in his lung.

His recent CT scan is clear; however, Dean speaks of his anxiety about the yearly blood tests, CT scans and colonoscopies. “It’s a pretty nervy time, you start sensing the fact that you’ve got it coming up. You get anxious.”

He is aware of what is happening in his body but understands it is easy to postpone things like health checkups. “That is one thing that you definitely realise. It’s easy to keep putting things off: ‘I think I’ll do that next year’, or in a couple of years, or whatever it might be. But you just never know.”

He is “trying to maintain a very positive outlook on life, not sort of look back and sort of get angry or sort of wonder about all the what ifs because, as we know, there is no ability to change anything in our past.

All we can do is try and have a positive impact in the future, and without question, the outlook on life changed at the same time as the diagnosis because it made you realise that A) you’re not bulletproof and B) you do need to be able to enjoy it while you can.”

Dean has been a Bowel Cancer NZ ambassador since 2022 and actively encourages people to get checked. “If by sharing my story, I can help just one person to go and get checked out early, then it will be worth it.”

Read the full article on The NZ Herald Premium here.