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Mary E. Coe

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Eric Shanteau, 24, Olympic Swimmer- Diagnosed With Cancer
by Mary E. Coe   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008

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Erica Shanteau, 24 year old, U. S. Olympic swimmer, Delays cancer surgery to compete in Beijing.


Twenty four year old, Eric Shanteau, an Olympic swimmer was diagnosed with testicular cancer only one week before the Olympic Trials.  After weighing his risks, Shanteau decided to delay surgery until after the Olympics.  Shanteau’s doctor cleared him to head for Beijing to compete with the U. S. Swim Team.  However, Shanteau will head back home for treatments immediately after the Olympic Games are over. Shanteau was diagnosed last month and since then he is being closely monitored to make sure the cancer is not spreading.  Shanteau promised to return home if there is any sign that his condition deteriorate.


Shanteau’s doctor said the cancer is treatable and Shanteau shouldn’t be at any risk competing in the Olympics; however he should leave for the U. S. before closing ceremonies.  The doctors caught the cancer early and further tests showed no signs that the cancer had spread anywhere else. The doctor believes competing at the Olympics will do no harm if treatment starts after the Olympics Games are over.


At the Trials, Eric Shanteau, came in second, in the 200m breast and made the U. S. Swim Team.  That night he told Morgenstein, his agent, “I have Cancer.”  

Shanteau said, as far as telling the team; that was probably one of the hardest things he ever had to do.


Just last year, Richard Shanteau, Eric’s dad was diagnosed with cancer.  He is doing fine now and is an inspiration to Eric.  Since Eric’s cancer is in the early stages it can be monitored by blood tests and CT scan. However, doctors agree that testicular cancer be treated as soon as possible and before things get out of hands.   There are approximately 8,000 new cases of testicular cancer each year, in the U. S. alone.  And 80% to 90% of these cases are diagnosed in young men under 35 years old.


The surgery to treat this type of cancer is not a big surgery, because it doesn’t involve muscle cutting.  I guess that depends on how one looks at it. 


Shanteau said it’s on his mind constantly.  Something he can’t help.  But, physically he feels very well. Shanteau said” What I show to the general public is obviously the positive side but I am human and this has been a roller-coaster ride.  This isn’t the flu, this is cancer.


After the Olympics, Eric Shanteau will head back home for surgery and treatments.


People with testicular cancer don’t necessarily feel ill.  Most cases are just out of the blue. It can happen to anyone, even healthy people that is in good physical shape. It’s a random gene mutation.  Men should seek medical attention if they notice any testicular abnormalities, while showering. Abnormalities are usually firmness in the testicle or painless swelling; it may start as a pea-sized lump.    Some testicular cancer may grow very slowly and others may need to be treated within 72 hours.




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Reviewed by Felix Perry 8/13/2008
What a great human interest story of bravery and inspiration. This young man does not need to win to be a gold medal winner in my eyes. He eptimizes what the Olypics stand for. Thanks for sharing Mary.
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