In 2011, India won the Cricket World Cup, its first cup since 1983. Their win was largely thanks to the play of Yuvraj Singh, voted man of the tournament. Mr. Singh has now been diagnosed with a type of cancer called seminoma involving his mediastinum (the central part of his chest, between his lungs): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16901940.
While not one of the top 20 cancers that I discuss in When Cancer Hits Home, seminoma is hardly rare. It’s one of the main types of testicular cancer. When localized to the testicle, seminoma is curable with surgery alone in the majority of men. However, about 15% of men will have their cancer return if nothing further is done. In that regard, common postoperative treatments include either a short course of radiation therapy (RT) to the lymph nodes in the central part of the abdomen or a single cycle of chemotherapy, as insurance to further decrease the risk of the cancer returning (to less than 5%).
Patients who have more advanced stage seminoma that has spread to lymph nodes in the mediastinum are best treated with chemotherapy. Since seminoma cells are very sensitive to chemo (as well as RT), the cure rate remains extremely high even for men with advanced disease. Although press reports state that Mr. Singh’s seminoma was apparently found only in his mediastinum (not in the testicle or other lymph node groups in the body), his treatment would be similar to these other patients with the same high chance for cure. Hopefully he will be back playing the game that he loves before too long!
- Patrick Maguire MD