Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty has urged fans to get checked after revealing that his testicular cancer had recurred.
Docherty had successful surgery to remove a malignant testicular tumour in November but will undergo 12 weeks of chemotherapy with the hopes of purging his body of the cancer once and for all.
“Unfortunately life has thrown another curveball my way and my testicular cancer has recurred, sadly meaning that I will need to undergo a round of chemotherapy,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It’s been a really tough few days processing the news and understanding what the next few months is going to look like for me. I’m extremely blessed to have such an amazing support team and so many people here to help.
“While I’m looking forward to getting back out on the track for pre-season, right now my focus is on my health and getting through this time and as such, I would appreciate the respect of my privacy through this difficult time. Lastly, if anything doesn’t feel right with your health please go get yourself checked. It could save your life.”
In a separate statement, Docherty told the Carlton website that his medical team had a “clear plan in place” to fight the cancer.
“It’s obviously not the news we wanted to hear but the support I have from everyone around me in my family, friends and the footy club will get me through this next challenge,” he said.
“I am very fortunate this secondary diagnosis was detected early as part of a routine check-up. We now have a clear plan in place to get through this.
“I really want to get the message out there of how important it is to be mindful of your health. If you feel something isn’t quite right, please, get checked and make sure you look after yourself.”
A Carlton spokesperson said Docherty would have the club’s support “every step of the way”.
“We will do everything we possibly can as a footy club to help Sam and his family through this,” said head of football Brad Lloyd.
“Right now, Sam’s health is the number one priority and he will be given all the support he needs as he undergoes the necessary treatment to allow him to recover fully.
“Sam is an incredibly resilient person, a strong character and the entire Carlton family is behind him every step of the way.”
Docherty underwent surgery on an injured ankle in late June and has not played since. He last featured in Carlton’s win over Adelaide and will not return for the remainder of the AFL season.