Shanteau Diagnosed With Cancer

Eric Shanteau
Eric Shanteau (Photo by Thomas Hackett)

If I didn’t see this coming, you can bet that Eric Shanteau didn’t either. Last week, I wrote about the giddy joy I felt seeing Shanteau qualify for the Olympics in the 200-meter breaststroke [“Playing Through,” Sports, July 11]. Saturday, I picked up the Austin American-Statesman and had the exact opposite feeling. There, we learned from an Associated Press article that the Longhorn Aquatic swimmer had been told a week before the trials that he had testicular cancer. “I was sort of like, ‘This isn’t real. There’s no way this is happening to me right now,’” he said. “You’re trying to get ready for the Olympics, and you just get this huge bomb dropped on you.” Cleared by doctors to compete in the trials, the 24-year-old Shanteau had a tough choice after making the team: compete in Beijing or get the surgery immediately. He decided to go for the gold. The worry is that the disease could progress in the next month, but his urologist, Dr. Brett Baker, doesn’t think the decision is ill-advised. “If he’s happy and content with playing it out this way, that’s the most important thing,” Baker said. The good news: testicular cancer typically spreads slowly and is highly treatable. The other good news: Shanteau knows he has fellow Austinite and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in his corner. We’ll be pulling for him, in Beijing and beyond.

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