Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova diagnosed with 'double whammy' — breast and throat cancers

Tennis great Martina Navratilova starts treatment this month for both breast and throat cancers. 

According to an Associated Press story on yesterday's Huffpost website, her agent Mary Greenham says the prognosis is good — despite the breast cancer being her second bout with the disease.

Martina Navratilova
Navratilova, a 66-year-old, 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, is quoted as saying, "This double whammy is serious but still fixable, and I'm hoping for a favorable outcome. It's going to stink for a while but I'll fight with all I have got."

In 2010, she'd been diagnosed with a noninvasive form of breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. This time, the AP reports, she says she noticed "an enlarged lymph node in her neck while attending the season-ending World Tennis Association finals in Fort Worth, Texas, in November, and a biopsy showed early-stage throat cancer." 

While she was undergoing tests on her throat, the story continues, "the unrelated breast cancer was discovered."

Greenham's statement says the tennis star, who's worked as a television analyst in recent years, won't be a regular part of Tennis Channel's coverage of the Australian Open later this month "but hopes to be able to join in from time to time" via video conference. 

Another story, by Matt Bonesteel in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post quotes Navratilova in 2017 while talking about her earlier battle: "I was as healthy as you can get and didn't really have to worry about anything. [But after the diagnosis], you realize your life can change in a nanosecond, so that 'seize the day' thing definitely applies."

Her attitude was awesome, as it's expected to be this go-'round: "I'm always good about dealing with reality and getting on with it, not worry about too many possibilities. Just what is now, let's deal with it. That's where tennis training comes in handy, you need to deal with the ball, the ball is right here. You don't think about anything else. Being a top-level athlete, a pro athlete, you learn to be positive. So that came in very handy as a patient. Being a positive person helped a lot, and surround yourself with positive people as well."

Bonesteel's piece notes that she was the top-ranked women's singles player for 332 weeks — second only to Steffi Graf. 

Navratilova still holds  the WTA Tour's all-time record of 167 titles.

More information on life-threatening disease and treatments for them can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer,  a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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