Will Testicular Cancer Survivor Lance Armstrong Survive Latest Doping Ordeal?

  @ibtimesau on

While the world of cycling will have to wait one more day for the airing of Oprah Winfrey's interview with disgraced athlete Lance Armstrong, the accusations of doping threatens to overshadow the triumph of the ex-medaled athlete over testicular cancer.

Interest in the talk show interview caused Oprah to change the airing and length of the Armstrong guesting from an edited 90-minute programme on Friday afternoon to a two-hour full interview split into a Friday and Saturday afternoon broadcast.

As an aftermath of the doping scandal, reportage will likely focus on the impact of Armstrong's admission of performance-enhancing drugs on the future of cycling in international sport competition as well as the expiry of his shelf life as an athlete and product endorser.

No doubt, a few months after the furor, people will forget the scandal and Armstrong will survive this crisis as he and thousands of other males had survived testicular cancer.

The 41-year-old seven-time consecutive winner of Tour de France from 1999 to 2005 was diagnosed in 1996 with testicular cancer at the age of 25. His stage three cancer had spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain, characterised by coughing up blood and suffering from a large, painful testicular tumour.

After a few months of treatments, including brain and testicular surgery, and extensive chemotherapy, he was declared cancer-free and established the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer support.

Being cancer-free, Armstrong resumed training in 1998. After his surgery, Armstrong's doctor said he has less than 40 per cent survival chance, but it has been more than 10 years and he has outlived the ailment which is the most common cancer among men in the age brackets 20 to 39.

Besides Armstrong, there are at least four more celebrities, mostly athletes, who are also testicular cancer survivors. They are:

1.     Scott Hamilton - An Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, He was diagnosed at the age of 38 in 1997, but beat the ailment after 12 weeks of chemotherapy. He eventually established the Scott Hamilton CARES (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) Institute.

2.     Tom Green - A Canadian-born comedian familiar to MTV audiences because of his outrageous pranks and odd brand of humour. He made public in 2000 his battle with testicular cancer and produced a 60-minute documentary about his health crisis. He also wrote a song to remind males to perform regular self-examination of their testicles.

For those really interested in learning about self-examination, here is a video from a medical point of view. (Warning: There will be age check because of the graphic video of male anatomy.)

3.     Steve Scott - A world-class runner who was diagnosed of testicular cancer at the age of 38. He underwent multiple surgeries and lived to write an autobiography.

4.     Josh Bidwell - An NFL punter who was diagnosed in 1999 at the age of 23. He underwent four months of chemotherapy and resumed his athletic career as punter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Besides surviving testicular cancer, one common thread among the five survivors is that they are all Caucasians since this ailment is uncommon among Asian and African men.

A study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found a link between testicular cancer and cannabis use. However, in the case of Armstrong, he has been suspected to have used erythropoletin, not marijuana.

Armstrong's admission of doping has led female guests of The View to ask if there is also a link between testicular cancer and steroid use. Host Barbara Walters cautioned famous comedian Whoopi Goldberg on establishing a connection between the two.

While Armstrong will definitely survive the mocking the ladies gave him about the size of his testicles, he would likely also survive the onslaught of negative publicity his admission and the subsequent investigations that would follow in the coming weeks.

Join the Discussion