James Grieve, 44, was diagnosed with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumour (DSRCT) last July, when the family were living in Perth.
Grieve told his oncologist the family, who were originally from Britain, were only in Perth on a work visa and he and his wife Victoria wanted to take their children home to Taranaki.
But they were told it was a very aggressive sarcoma and he had to start chemo straight away, Grieve said.
"He made it clear I was going to die. I was going through chemo because I have four kids and something was better than nothing."
After six rounds of chemo, nothing had changed, he said, so they came home.
But before they left, Grieve's oncologist in Australia gave him three months worth of a trial drug, Pazopanib, which may inhibit the tumour's growth and give him more time with his four young children.
However, back home in New Zealand Pharmac won't fund the drug, which costs $10,000 for three months supply.
In a letter to MidCentral oncologist Dr Richard Isaacs, Pharmac said if Grieve was granted Pazopanib, people with other soft tissue sarcomas would also apply, because there was no clinical evidence to support the use of the drug specifically for DSCRT rather than other soft tissue sarcomas.