Baltimore Orioles star Trey Mancini revealed he has stage 3 colon cancer on Tuesday, a month after he had surgery to remove a tumor.
Mancini announced his diagnosis in a personal essay entitled “I Am So Lucky” for the Players’ Tribune. The right fielder, who only turned 28 in March, said that doctors initially believed he had celiac disease or an ulcer until he underwent an endoscopy and 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, just six days after it was found, and he began chemotherapy a month later. The 28-year-old said that his father had previously fought stage 2 colon cancer, but Mancini 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 newly signed six-figure contract with the Orioles from 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 only showed low iron levels.
But further testing eventually found the tumor before it created 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 the MLB decides to start the 2020 season amid a pandemic.
He said "chemo in the age of COVID-19 is crazy.”
Mancini’s treatment has to be done alone due to restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus. His girlfriend drives him to the hospital, but cannot come 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.
He acknowledged that this is a “terrible time” for everyone and 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.”