Montana Attorney General Tim Fox revealed Monday that he had a cancerous section of his colon surgically removed less than three weeks ago – and that he’ll undergo chemotherapy for further cancer treatment.
Fox said he returned to work last week, is feeling well, and wants to get the word out that people should get routine health checkups.
“Certainly I didn’t want to get cancer, didn’t know I was going to get cancer,” he told MTN News. “But what a great way to get the message out that people ought to take care of themselves and get their health screenings.”
Fox, 60, who’s almost midway through his second term as attorney general, said he wasn’t feeling well in late February and went in for a checkup at the state employee health clinic in Helena.
His physician suggested a colonoscopy, which showed that Fox had colon cancer. A few weeks later, on March 29, he had surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to remove a seven-inch section of his colon.
Tests also revealed that Fox had some cancerous cells in a lymph node, so he’ll undergo chemotherapy treatment in the future.
Fox said he returned to work April 9.
“My energy’s high, I’m walking five miles a day,” he said in an interview at his Helena office. “I expect a full recovery.”
Fox, a Republican, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2020, when term limits prevent him from running for re-election as attorney general.
He said Monday that he still has a “deep passion for public service,” and that he’s not ruling out anything in the future.
“I have a lot left to be done here at the attorney general’s office, and really, I can’t afford to be sick, and so I don’t plan to be sick,” he said.
A new, unexpected item on the agenda will be encouraging people to get their health checkups and regular screenings, to catch any problems early, when they’re treatable, he said.
“One of my brothers had never had a checkup or a colonoscopy, and he’s now had one, last week, and they found a polyp that has to be removed surgically,” Fox said. “He’ll have the same procedure I had, but fortunately, his doesn’t show any cancer.”
Fox was first elected as attorney general in 2012 and won re-election in 2016.