Chad Bettis is expected to be ready for the start of the 2017 MLB season after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in late November.
In a statement to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Bettis said that he had a testicle removed after he was diagnosed with the disease. Thankfully, the survival rate for testicular cancer is nearly 100 percent, and Bettis was diagnosed early.
Bettis said the diagnosis was a wake-up call about being upfront and proactive about his personal health.
“I was completely caught off-guard by my diagnosis but have subsequently found that the vast majority of cases occur in men 20 to 40 years of age and that the survival rate is 99 percent when contained and caught early. This only reinforces my belief that each of us needs to be totally in tune with our own physical health, and that taking action sooner than later when we feel like something is off can sometimes literally be the difference between life and death.
The 27-year-old is coming off his best season as a pro. Bettis led the Rockies in wins (14), starts (32) and quality starts (17), with a 1.41 WHIP, a 4.79 ERA, and a 1.7 WAR.
In the statement, Bettis said his surgeon was confident the cancer was isolated and has not spread throughout his body. He also added that the diagnosis shouldn’t prevent him from having kids in the future.
Bettis isn’t alone among pro athletes who’ve dealt with the disease. Cubs All-Star Jon Lester successfully won his fight against anaplastic large cell lymphoma. After getting drafted, fellow Cub Anthony Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, which he beat and made a full recovery from. Pittsburgh Penguins sniper Phil Kessel had a testicle removed after getting diagnosed with testicular cancer as a rookie. He quickly returned to the game and has been one of the elite goal scorers in the NHL since. Bettis should use these athletes as inspiration as he makes a recovery to the game.
Bettis said he should be ready for Spring Training if recovery goes as planned. It’s a scary story, but at least it was caught early and Bettis is on the road to recovery.