Battlefords MLA Herb Cox has revealed he has been fighting bone cancer.
Cox confirmed the news Wednesday morning to the Regional Optimist, soon after word of his diagnosis was released to the media by the Saskatchewan party caucus.
It isn’t good news but Cox said it’s “not bad news either.”
“Having gone down to the clinic and seen how other peoples’ condition is, I consider myself lucky, to be honest with you,” said Cox, who expressed confidence he would beat the cancer.
“I’m optimistic about the treatment,” said Cox. “Absolutely, yes, I’m going to beat it.”
It turns out Cox had been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer since late November, just after winning his seat in the legislature in the Nov. 7 provincial election.
Now, he plans to undergo surgery in May in Saskatoon for a stem cell transplant.
He learned about the cancer after visiting his family doctor, complaining about discomfort in his ribs. A number of tests were done and it was eventually narrowed down to bone cancer.
“It’s a shock to anybody,” said Cox about the diagnosis.
Still, he said his treatment to this point has had no impact on his ability to perform his role as MLA.
“My chemo has not been a problem whatsoever,” said Cox, who adds “I’ve come back and given speeches on Friday night after I’ve got my treatment. So it has not been a huge problem.”
Still, Cox expects there will be an impact for “three weeks” in May, during his time in hospital recuperating from surgery.
Cox expressed confidence he will completely recover and will be back to work full-time after that.
He said he chose Saskatoon for the surgery because they have an “excellent protocol” for stem cell work there. Cox described it as “brand-new” and just two years old.
“We’re so fortunate to live in a province like this that has the type of medical facilities for people that we do have here,” said Cox.
“To this point everything has been just great as far as the medical attention I’ve received.”
Cox adds huge progress has been made in fighting cancer, saying it’s “not the huge deal that it once was at one time. Progress has been made in cancer research.”
Despite the diagnosis, Cox said he is remains active in the legislature and serving his constituents and plans to continue with his duties as usual until his surgery.
Cox was described by a spokesman for the party caucus as in good spirits and “very optimistic,” and they confirmed Cox still looked to be in good physical shape and able to carry out his duties. However, they did expect him to be away from the legislature to pursue treatment from time to time.
Cox also expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support he has received, particularly from colleagues at the legislature and party staff who heard the news.