Greetings on a very significant anniversary for all of us here at the LAF. 10//2 is the date back in ’96 when Lance was given his cancer diagnosis and his life changed forever. To many of us, it’s an example of a day one faces a critical cross roads: How will I choose to deal with this crisis? If you’re Lance, you choose to fight like hell, despite the odds, despite the pain, and throughout the inevitable doubts and fears. And you choose the responsibility of the cured sharing your story, trying to effect positive change and going on with a great life. But I’ll let him tell you about it. Below is the transcript of his statement to reporters a week after his diagnosis twelve years ago. If you get a chance, give it a read and send us your thoughts. Many thanks and LIVESTRONG!
Lance Armstrong Press Conference
October 8, 1996
I would like to thank everyone for coming or for calling in to hear what I have to say today. I have some news regarding my health to share with you.
On Wednesday, October 2nd, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Prior to seeing my doctor last week, I had been experiencing swelling and pain in one of my testicles and had coughed up some blood. On Thursday, October 3rd, I underwent surgery at St. David’s Hospital here in Austin to have the malignant testicle removed and the surgery was successful. A CT-Scan was also performed the same day. The CT-Scan revealed that my condition has spread into my abdomen. In terms of degrees of the disease, my condition is considered to be between moderate and advanced and, thus, yesterday I began my first day of chemotherapy treatment.
I will undergo chemotherapy for at least twelve weeks and then, depending on how I respond to the treatment, may have to undergo more chemotherapy or other procedures to fight this disease. I have the utmost faith in all the doctors with whom I am working and I am determined to fight this disease and to prevail. I would like to say a special thank you to the staff at St. David’s hospital for making my stay there as comfortable as possible and for protecting my privacy until I was prepared to share this news with the press. Due to this consideration, I have been able to speak with all of my sponsors, with Team Motorola, and with my new team, Team Cofidis, prior to this press conference.
My oncologist, Dr. J. Dudley Youman, is unable to be here today. However, he has told me that the cure rate for testicular cancer in the advanced stage is between 65% and 85%. Further, if I do beat this disease I have been assured that there is no reason that I cannot make a full and complete recovery.
For now, I must focus on my treatment. However, I want you all to know that I intend to beat this disease, and further, I intend to ride again as a professional cyclist. I am unable to say today when I will be back in the peloton but hold out hope that I might still participate in the 1997 season.
I want to finish by saying that I intend to be an avid spokesperson for cancer research and awareness, particularly testicular cancer, once I have beaten the disease. Had I been more aware of the symptoms, I believe I would have seen a doctor before my condition had advanced to this stage. I want this to be a positive experience and I want to take this opportunity to help others who might someday suffer from the same circumstance I face today.
During the next few months, I will be undergoing my treatment and will be surrounded by my family and close friends. It will be a difficult time for me and I would appreciate that any press inquiries into my progress be communicated through my agent, Bill Stapleton. However, I will be available to answer your questions for the next few minutes. Thank you.