Cal Ripken, Jr. announced in a Zoom interview on Thursday that he has made a full recovery from prostate cancer.
Ripken was originally diagnosed in February before undergoing surgery at Johns Hopkins in March. The Baseball Hall of Famer was thankful he did not have to undergo radiation or chemotherapy to overcome the disease.
The longtime Oriole credited early detection due to scheduling a regular physical and spent much of his conversation with reporters encouraging others to get checked.
Earlier today during a call with Orioles beat writers, discussing 2131, Cal divulged that in February he was diagnosed and treated for Prostate Cancer. Here are his words on the news. – CRJ, Inc. pic.twitter.com/4zeID602zP
— Cal Ripken, Jr. (@CalRipkenJr) August 20, 2020
“I was torn for a long time if I should make it public or not or even talk about it,” Ripken said. “My first instinct was to not. The news is I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the middle of February. The story before I get too far long has a great ending. I had surgery. I removed it. It was all contained in the prostate. Your life basically goes back to normal. So I’m lucky. We found it really early through regular blood work that I was doing.”
Ripken, who turns 60 next week, lost his father Cal Sr. due to lung cancer in 1999 and naturally first thought of his brother Billy, who was a teammate with him on the Orioles and is now a business partner with Ripken Baseball.
“In my [childhood], every time you heard the word cancer it was a death sentence,” Ripken said. “It was really alarming and shocking. It does change your life to hear that word associated with you. So my first instinct was to think is it in my family history? Then I thought about my brother Billy. I said okay, since I’ve been able to detect it early, and early detection is key, let me make sure my brother Billy is going through his yearly physicals. As a baseball player, you have all the medical that you need at the team. When you retire and get away from it, you get a little lax. You don’t schedule your physicals like you should throughout your life and you need to actually do that. So I wanted to make sure Bill – it was good to know that Bill was way ahead of me. He was more disciplined and he was getting his regularly physicals made me feel good, which then led me to maybe I should encourage other people to get their regular physicals, knowing that it’s easy to get lax, it’s easy to avoid potentially bad news or as at your age you think it won’t happen to me.”
Ripken learned of his diagnosis before the coronavirus pandemic and scheduled the surgery in March before he feared the hospital could be overrun with patients. Ripken said that a pathology report confirmed that the cancer was contained in his prostate. Later a three-month test showed that Ripken’s PSA [prostate-specific antigen] was undetectable, meaning the cancer is all out now.
“The weird part is, when it first happens to you, I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to tell anybody,'” Ripken said according to ESPN. “It’s almost like there’s something wrong with you. I wouldn’t say the Iron Man [nickname] contributes to it, but I was the kind of person who was thinking, ‘OK, I’ll just keep this a secret.’ But the longer you deal with it and you understand the outcome has been favorable and positive, the reason I’m letting it slip out now is I want to use the opportunity to help other people who struggle with that decision and encourage other people to go get their regular exams, get their tests.”
He added, “If you find it early, the prognosis is really good.”
Ripken’s announcement came ahead of the 25th anniversary of him surpassing Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-games streak of 2,130 on September 1, 1995.
Screenshot courtesy of Cal Ripken
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