Baltimore Orioles legend and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. revealed Thursday he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February.
Ripken Jr. also said he is now cancer-free after undergoing immediate treatment and having surgery in March. He wants to use his diagnosis to encourage others to receive regular checkups, which is how doctors found his cancer.
“There was no reason for me to think I had any issues,” Ripken told reporters on a Zoom call, per MASN.
Early detection was key in his case, the former shortstop said, as the cancer did not spread beyond his prostate.
“Just as a precaution I went to a urologist, and the urologist did a few more tests to determine whether I needed a biopsy, and those tests came back iffy,” he said. “The recommendation was to do a biopsy, which we did in mid-February, and it came back that I had prostate cancer.”
Fearful of hospitals being overrun and elective surgeries being pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemimc, Ripken said he moved up the date of his surgery. In true “Iron Man” fashion, he went in for the operation on a Friday morning and walked out that evening.
“There’s a saying that most men don’t die because of prostate cancer, they die with it,” Ripken said. “It seems like it’s a normal occurrence that, as you live and age, that’s what happens, and usually it’s dealt with. But the treatments and diagnosing it early, there’s been a lot of progress made and it seems like it’s moving all the time. So the fear that I had to begin with turned into hope, especially when you gather more information, and then you actually go through the experience and realize if you do catch it early, the prognosis is really good. But if you don’t and have complications, it becomes much worse.”
Ripken set the MLB record by playing in 2,632 consecutive games. He retired in 2001 and was elected to Cooperstown in 2007.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.