Cycle of Hope
Cancer is a disease that touches us all. More than one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, making the odds of cancer striking close to home pretty likely. No doubt you, a family member or someone you know has been affected by cancer. I'm proof that everyone is at risk for cancer.
I was a 25 year-old competitive bicyclist in prime condition when I was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer. I had been denying my symptoms for several months, blaming my soreness and fatigue on my tough training. By the time I was diagnosed, my cancer had spread to my lungs and brain, leaving me with a very grim prognosis. The initial shock of this news paralyzed me with fear, but not for long. I soon took charge of my disease treatment the same way I would tackle a difficult racecourse. I moved forward with brain surgery to remove two tumors, and an aggressive course of chemotherapy, and regained control to defeat my cancer. I returned to the sport I love, and two years later I won the 1999 Tour de France international bicycle race.
As an athlete, I must know my competition. It's the same with cancer. Knowing and recognizing the warning signs and obtaining prompt medical attention can save your life. Learning about your disease can help you manage, and live with your illness. Building a relationship with your treatment team can make you a player instead of a spectator.