Boycott awaits verdict on success of cancer treatment

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The Independent Online

The former England and Yorkshire opening batsman, Geoffrey Boycott, faces an anxious wait until into the new year to discover whether he has beaten cancer.

The former England and Yorkshire opening batsman, Geoffrey Boycott, faces an anxious wait until into the new year to discover whether he has beaten cancer.

The 62-year-old Boycott was diagnosed with the illness in September after problems with his throat and tests showed he had a tumour at the base of his tongue and three secondary tumours in his neck.

Boycott, who scored more than 8,000 Test runs, has spent the last few months undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy at a Leeds hospital, which have left him unable to take solid food and seen him lose two stones in weight.

Doctors believe he has every chance of recovering fully, and he is now resting at his home in Woolley, near Wakefield, awaiting further results.

"The diagnosis was a bolt from the blue," he said yesterday. "I felt a lump when I was shaving one day. I told the doctor and I was being tested within days.

"The rest you know. There were four lots of chemotherapy. And then I began the radiotherapy on October 22. I asked her [the oncologist] what the prognosis was and she was very positive, very relaxed. Of course there are no guarantees in this situation, but she says I have a good chance."

He added: "It is the treatment that takes so much out of me. The side-effects are terrible – burns in the neck and chest.

"As the radiography slowly takes then burning starts on your neck and throat and tongue. I used to enjoy my food – not excessive amounts – but I always liked good-quality food and a glass or two of good wine. But after a while the effects of the radiotherapy meant I started only taking liquid food. Now I can't bear having anything on my mouth or tongue.

"I used to be able to get exercise by getting out for a walk, but more recently I have got more and more tired and, when I was coming home from the treatment at 3.30, I haven't felt like going out again.

"The last couple of weeks have been very difficult. I haven't felt like walking. Now I'm being fed eight to 10 hours a day – so you've pretty much got to sit still all day.

"I have to take a month's rest now and I'm seeing her [the oncologist] again in the middle of January."

Last month, Boycott was told that the secondary lumps in his neck had disappeared, and he added: "While it is still too early for tests to tell about the primary because of the swollen tissue, which has to settle down, as far as we know the treatment – make that torture – should have worked."

The only player to average in excess of 100 in two English seasons, Boycott also carries the distinction of receiving the first ball bowled in international one-day cricket. He made his debut for England against Australia in 1964, scored 8,114 Test runs at an average of 47.42 in a 108-match career spanning three decades.

Widely regarded as one of the most astute analysts of the game, the controversial Yorkshireman has spawned admirers and critics in equal measure.

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