Baltimore Orioles star Trey Mancini revealed he has stage three colon cancer Tuesday, a month after he had surgery to remove a tumor.
Mancini announced his diagnosis in a personal essay titled "I Am So Lucky" for the Players' Tribune. The right fielder, who turned 28 in March, said doctors initially believed he had celiac disease or an ulcer until he underwent an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.
"I was still woozy from the anesthesia, but before he even said the word cancer I was thinking to myself, There's no way that he's about to say what I think he's about to say," Mancini said. "And then he said it: They had found a malignant tumor in my colon."
Doctors removed Mancini's tumor on March 12, six days after it was found, and he began chemotherapy a month later. He said that his father had previously fought stage two colon cancer but that he thought he was too young to worry about such a diagnosis.
Mancini said he knew he was lucky for quite a few reasons, including his new contract with the Orioles in January following a breakout year in which he was one of the American League's best hitters. Beyond his love of the game, he credited the team's resources and support for doctors' being able to detect his tumor before it was too late.
He didn't have any typical symptoms of colon cancer other than feeling more lethargic than usual. Initial blood tests showed only low iron levels.
But further testing eventually found the tumor before it could create a total blockage of his colon, Mancini said.
The treatment will take at least six months, meaning he won't be returning to baseball even if Major League Baseball decides to start the 2020 season amid a pandemic.
"Chemo in the age of COVID-19 is crazy," he said.
Mancini has to take his treatment alone because of restrictions due to the coronavirus. His girlfriend drives him to the hospital, but she cannot go inside with him.
"I'm definitely trying to follow all the protocols, not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because I don't want to expose myself to anything, especially before going into chemotherapy," Mancini said.
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He acknowledged that this is a "terrible time" for everyone and said that once he is recovered, he wants to use his platform to make a difference.
"So many people have lost jobs, so many people have lost loved ones," Mancini said. "After my chemo is done, and when I'm totally cancer-free, I've got a few different ideas of what I can do."