Starting pitcher Chad Bettis vows to be proactive after his surgery for testicular cancer.
Chad Bettis was shocked, and admittedly scared, when he was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer.
“Anytime you hear the word ‘cancer,’ it throws you back,” the Rockies pitcher said Friday during a phone interview from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I would never have guessed it would have happened to me. I was taken off guard by it.”
Now, after undergoing surgery Nov. 29 to have a testicle removed, Bettis wants to make sure other men know about a disease that, according to the Testicular Cancer Society, strikes an estimated 8,500 men in the United States each year, leading to 350 deaths.
“This is something that needs to be caught early,” the 27-year-old right-hander said. “From my position, I think something needs to come from this. Maybe I need to speak about it more, or maybe I will open a foundation or something like that. I will talk with my agents about that, but that’s something I would like to open up. I want to make men more aware of this.”
Bettis, thankfully, discovered his condition early and his prognosis is excellent. He plans to be 100 percent ready to go when the Rockies report to spring training in mid-February.
“As optimistic as everybody seems to be after my last lab work, I definitely think I will be ready to go,” said Bettis, who finished last season 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 32 starts. “I have one more test to go, but things look good.”
If that test and blood work come back clean, Bettis said he likely won’t have to undergo chemotherapy or any other treatment.
“I will just have to be proactive going forward and getting scans and those types of things,” he said.
Bettis discovered a small lump during a self-examination one night in late November. He almost didn’t do anything about it, but now is thankful that he went to see his doctor.
“The growth was no bigger than a grain of rice, and that’s the scary thing about it,” he said. “There was about an eight- to 12-hour window where I was wondering if I should do or say anything.
“I told myself, ‘If I feel it again in the morning, then I will say something.’ Even then I was very optimistic that it wasn’t going to be anything to this extreme.”
When Bettis went in for his examination, the doctor noticed an abnormality and ordered further tests and advanced blood work.
A few days later, Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had one of his testicles removed the next day. The surgeon and Bettis’ doctor are very confident that the cancer was isolated and has not spread.
“It did not affect my ability to have children in the future, and that’s a blessing,” he said. “And I want to say again that the Rockies and the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) have been great. And I truly appreciate the care and support shown by (general manager) Jeff Bridich to both me and my family.”
In addition to his optimistic prognosis, Bettis also shared some other good news.
“My wife, Kristina, is due to deliver our first child,” Bettis said. “We are expecting a baby girl on March 29.”