MLB Coach Misses Opening Day for Cancer Surgery, WWE Star Warns Against Tanning

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From the San Diego Padres’ coach missing Opening Day for colon cancer surgery to WWE star Alexa Bliss sharing her skin cancer experience and warning people against tanning beds, here’s what’s happening in the oncology space this week.

A San Diego Padres coach will undergo surgery to treat cancer.

Matt Williams, the third-base coach for the MLB team, the San Diego Padres, will be undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer and stepping away from his duties with the team for an undisclosed amount of time. Of note, the coach missed the Padres’ Opening Day game against the Colorado Rockies on March 30, to prepare for his March 31 surgery.

The 57-year-old said that he received a diagnosis approximately three weeks ago, when a physical revealed a low red blood cell count that led to further testing. The initial scans showed that the cancer likely did not spread anywhere else, he told ESPN.

"At this point, it's important now to get it out of there. That's the plan for Friday, and we'll see how it goes from there. They'll test, and they'll do all the pathology and all of that at that point,” Williams told ESPN.

WWE wrestler, Alexa Bliss, warned against the dangers of tanning beds.

Alexa Bliss, a WWE wrestler whose real name is Lexi Cabrera, recently posted on Instagram that she underwent surgery to have basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) removed from her face. In the post, the 31-year-old also warned against the dangers of tanning beds, which, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, can increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 58% and basal cell carcinoma by 24%.

Now, Bliss has the “all clear,” she said, and sent out the message, “Dear younger me, you should have stayed out of tanning beds.”

Josh Kraft, the president of the New England Patriots Foundation, discussed his prostate cancer experience.

In the fall of 2018, Kraft was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine blood test showed rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, a marker that often indicates cancer. Kraft, who was 51 years old at the time, decided to have his prostate removed, but then after the surgery, his PSA levels rose once again, so he underwent radiation and hormone therapy.

In a recent interview with NewsCenter 5, Kraft reflected on his experience with the disease and urged others to keep up to date with the routine exam that can help detect prostate cancer early.

“Just stay on that PSA. Stay on the digital exams. Make sure you get checked. You know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say,” Kraft said.

Kraft also mentioned that he now has a PSA of 0, meaning that his cancer is gone.

A University of North Carolina (UNC) Sports Network analyst announced his cancer diagnosis.

Eric Montross, a UNC Sports Network analyst and former All-American and NBA basketball player, announced that he had received a cancer diagnosis and is undergoing treatment at the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center.

A statement from the family that was published by UNC read, “Our family is, of course, deeply concerned, but we have spent nearly three decades in the fight against children’s cancer, and we know the incredible advancements that are being made in oncology treatments, as well as the power of love, prayer, support and positivity.”

In his eight seasons in the NBA, Montross played for the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and the then-New Jersey Nets.

“Our family is dealing with Eric’s diagnosis head-on — the only way we know how. And we are all in this fight together,” the statement concluded.

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