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Dick Quax 'battered' after treatment for cancer

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 08:59 27/11/2013
Dick Quax
NZPA/ Ross Setford
CANCER SHOCK: Former Olympian Dick Quax says his body is "battered" after undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

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Former Olympian and world record holder Dick Quax says his body is "battered" after undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

Quax, 65, who is an Auckland councillor said he had finished radiation therapy and chemotherapy about a fortnight ago after being diagnosed with cancer in September.

He had noticed a lump on his neck in August but "being a typical bloke I thought 'oh something else will be causing that or I probably slept funny'. I didn't really take a hell of a lot of notice of it.

"But I pointed it out to my wife and she said go and see a doctor straight away, which I did. It was probably the best thing I could have done. Things moved pretty quickly from there."

Quax said the lump in his neck was a secondary cancer.

"The doctors came back and said it was malignant which I guess was the most scary part for me because that was all they were able to tell me. I thought where else is this going to be? Is it in my stomach, is it in my liver, or one of my major organs?"

Quax had three bouts of chemotherapy and then radiation therapy.

"The combination of the two left me pretty frail and weak and I lost a lot of weight. My oncologist and medical staff all told me things can be pretty rough for a while, and they certainly were, but things actually got worse after I had completed my treatment.

"It left my body pretty battered."

Quax said he was feeling frail. 

"I can't eat anything solid. I haven't eaten anything solid for at least six weeks so that's caused me to lose a lot of weight which has been distressing. I was only 76kg before I started this. So I'm fairly lean as it is." 

He was still able to attend council meetings during his treatment but had taken time off since.

"I thought I am ready to go now and that was not the case."

He was hoping to be able to take on light duties and attend some council meetings from next month.

The long term prognosis is good, Quax said.

Quax, along with John Walker and Rod Dixon, was one of New Zealand's outstanding distance runners of the 1970s. 

The 1976 Montreal Olympics 5000m final was his most famous race. He lost the race by just one stride.

He set the world record for the 5000m in 1977 and was chosen for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but never got to compete because of the Olympic boycott that year. 

Quax, who was born in Holland and christened Theodorus Jacobus Leonardus, had a long athletic career before taking up a career in sport management and then turning his hand to local body politics.

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He was a Manukau City Councillor from 2001 to 2007, when he stood unsuccessfully for mayor. He has been an Auckland councillor since 2011.

Quax has three children, Tania, Jacob and Theo, and is married to Roxanne.

- Fairfax Media

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