Oliver Petszokat on cancer: “Talk a lot about it!”

Deepak Gupta February 15, 2022
Updated 2022/02/15 at 4:24 PM

“Showtime of my Life – Stars Against Cancer” will start the second round on February 15 at 8:15 p.m. on VOX. Also this year, 16 prominent participants will undress in front of running cameras to draw attention to cancer prevention. The male stars can be seen in the first episode. Among them is Oliver Petszokat (43), who lost his mother to cancer. His wife had to be operated on in 2020 for a brain tumor. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, he tells what these experiences have made for him and why education about pensions is so important to him.

Your wife underwent brain surgery in 2020 for a tumor. How did you experience this time?

Oliver Petszokat: Many things have been present to me my whole life. I have always been aware that health cannot be taken for granted, also because my mother died last year – among other things from a type of blood cancer. It used to be a process that lasted almost ten years. Because of this and from other experiences in the family circle, I have known for a long time: It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, famous or not – illnesses don’t stop there, especially cancer. That’s why I’ve always been grateful for every day that I was allowed to be fit in this world.

When we then knew for sure how my wife was doing health-wise, it didn’t change much in our lives. I loved my wife over 1000 percent before, during and now. It hasn’t changed my view of life. If I had asked myself why this happened to her and not some bad people or I had slipped into other negative thoughts, it would not have changed anything and would not have helped her. That’s why I try to be happy every day for what is there. Because I also know how bad it could have been for my wife.

Is there anything you can tell relatives of cancer patients based on your experience?

Petszokat: I think everyone deals with grief and the psychological stress that comes with the situation differently. I experienced that myself when my mother died. You can’t go there and say: Now stop crying, instead think back to the beautiful moments with her! Everyone has their own method and that’s totally okay. If you are affected yourself, there is also fear of existence or death. I don’t want to give anyone any advice. The only thing I can say is: It should be talked about a lot. This is important to know that you are not alone in this world. That way you can deal with the situation better.

Why is it so important to you to take part in “Showtime of my Life”?

Petszokat: I was asked to do the first season and I couldn’t imagine it at all. I said: “What should be done?! Why should we undress?!” (laughs) I didn’t get it at all. I don’t always trust television 100 percent and was afraid that such an important topic would be messed around with. So I said: “You guys do your first season nicely and I’ll take a look at it. If I then realize that this really makes sense and that it really saves her lives, then I’ll definitely be in season two.”

When I was then asked for the second season, the death of my mother and my wife’s health situation gave me even more starting points for participation. Unfortunately, cancer is often a topic that you notice when it is already too late. I got the message now (laughs). We want to show that if we, as public figures, can undress on TV, then you can do it in front of your doctor. In the worst case, you can even save your life with it. We saved a life during the shooting. Mickie Krause was diagnosed with bladder cancer on the show.

In “Showtime of my Life” the participants are lured out of their comfort zone. It certainly wasn’t difficult for you with the choreography. Were there other things that challenged you?

Petszokat: Actually, no aspect of the show was a challenge for me (laughs). It’s not difficult for me to remember a choreo. I do a lot of sports and also run around naked a lot at home. So I didn’t feel like I had to cross a line there. For me, being on the show was never an incentive to have that experience for me. I just wanted to educate about men’s health and health screenings. Because I’ve been committed to this for a long time.

Why is this so important to you?

Petszokat: In my close circle of friends I have people who have died because they didn’t go to check-up or went too late. I think it’s violent that women learn before they are teenagers that they should go to the doctor regularly as a matter of course. On the other hand, I and many other men were told: From the age of 40 you should go to the doctor. I think that’s a mess because you don’t really know anything about it.

Two years ago, my wife pointed out to me that I should take preventive care. Then I started researching and getting involved in pension provision. At first I didn’t even know which doctor to go to. Women recommend gynecologists, but why don’t men recommend men’s doctors? I just think it’s horrible that education hasn’t progressed so far that you don’t actually go to the doctor’s appointment regularly from a young age. By that I don’t mean once a year, but once every six months. Cancer doesn’t care if twelve or eight months have passed. There is nothing to prevent. That doesn’t hurt.

Men are often said to be less open about feelings and their health than women.

Petszokat: I don’t think that’s the case anymore. A lot has changed there. I don’t think we have to break down the old male image anymore. That was maybe the case from the 50s to the 90s. Now, instead, the incentives, the supply, and the education just have to be there. Many things are possible thanks to podcasts and social networks that make our world more open, colourful, liberal and diverse. This is also an opportunity for this topic. Now is exactly the right time to talk about everything that you may have been ashamed of in the past.

What impact are you hoping for from the show?

Petszokat: I hope to continue what the first season did. Many lives have been saved since the first season and our show saved one life even before it aired. It was worth it for that alone. I’d just be happy if people understood what we’re doing there and that education would take another step forward.


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