Coxy’s pet project

Ge­off Cox is a real man’s man, but he now ad­mits it was wrong not to call out for help sooner, writes Dar­ren Devlyn

Herald Sun - Switched On - - News -

GE­OFF Cox, who tonight hosts Chan­nel 7’s New Year’s Eve cov­er­age, is de­void of af­fec­ta­tion. Though he might be a bear of a man, his mates will tell you Cox, or ‘‘Coxy’’ as he’s been known for decades, is def­i­nitely more Humphrey than griz­zly.

It’s that ‘‘ev­ery­man’’ per­sona that will hope­fully al­low Cox to make an im­pact on Aus­tralians who are in de­nial about the state of their health.

Cox con­sid­ers him­self ‘‘one of the lucky ones’’ af­ter years of ne­glect­ing his well­be­ing.

He had put off med­i­cal tests for five years be­cause the one-time heavy smoker feared he would be di­ag­nosed with lung can­cer.

Doc­tors told him if he had tests sooner, they would al­most cer­tainly have found a polyp and burned it off. In­stead, they dis­cov­ered a cricket ball-sized tu­mour in his bowel that was re­moved by surgery in Oc­to­ber.

Cox (right) is for­tu­nate the surgery was suc­cess­ful and that the can­cer had not spread. Doc­tors say there is no sign of can­cer, but he’s hav­ing 12 doses of chemo­ther­apy to re­duce the chance the can­cer will re­turn. He hopes to get the fi­nal all-clear in May.

Cox, who will re­turn to his Coxy’s Big Break film­ing in mid-Jan­uary, also wants to front a TV show in 2009 that will en­cour­age mid­dle-aged men and women to have reg­u­lar health checks.

He’d like the ‘‘amaz­ingly loyal’’ Big Break au­di­ence, and many more, to tune in for a show that he hopes will fea­ture some of his show­biz mates who have had ma­jor health scares.

‘‘I’ve had an in­cred­i­ble num­ber of emails of sup­port,’’ Cox says of his bat­tle with ill health.

‘‘A doc­tor said to me, ‘You’re one of the only blokes in the whole of Aus­tralia who can talk about bowel can­cer and not feel em­bar­rassed, so can you do some­thing to help us?’

‘‘So one of my pet projects is to do a show on men’s health. I’d love to do a show where you’ve got peo­ple like Sam New­man (who in early 2008 had surgery for prostate can­cer). He’s a mate, he’s on Chan­nel 9, but I don’t care (about net­work al­le­giances).

‘‘I want to cover prostate can­cer, bowel can­cer, sleep ap­noea and blood pres­sure, which is an­other killer.

‘‘It looks as if we have the fund­ing to do the show, but the hard­est part is to make it in­ter­est­ing and not preach. If we can help save some peo­ple’s lives, good grief, how good will that be?

‘‘I look back . . . five years I waited (to have tests done that re­vealed bowel can­cer). I put it off be­cause I was too scared, s----ing my­self. It’s just crazy. There are so many peo­ple out there who have put some­thing (tests) off that has turned bad.

‘‘I said to my doc­tor, ‘How do I know when I’m bet­ter’ and he said, ‘If you’re walk­ing around in five years talk­ing to me, you’re cured’. I said, ‘Are you se­ri­ous?’ and he said, ‘Ab­so­lutely’.’’

Bowel can­cer kills 80 Aus­tralians each week, yet if found early, al­most all cases can be cured. It is pos­si­ble to find bowel can­cer early by com­plet­ing a sim­ple test called a fae­cal oc­cult blood test (FOBT).

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to re­cent Can­cer Coun­cil re­search, less than a third of those at risk (every­one over 50) had even heard of an FOBT.

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