Start­ing pitcher Chad Bet­tis vows to be proac­tive af­ter his surgery for tes­tic­u­lar can­cer.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

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.”

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