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NBA legend Alonzo Mourning cancer-free after surgery to remove prostate

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Alonzo Mourning is cancer-free after having surgery to remove his prostate in mid-March, the Basketball Hall of Famer told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Mourning, a seven-time All-Star who played for the Heat, Hornets and Nets between 1992-2008, said he was diagnosed with Stage 3 prostate cancer after a biopsy in February.

From ESPN:

In late 2022, Mourning’s urologist, Dr. Maury Jayson, told him that his PSA scores were “creeping up.” A rise in PSA [prostate-specific antigen] scores can be a warning sign of prostate cancer, so the doctor set an MRI screening on his prostate — which revealed some “shadows” in the imaging and necessitated a biopsy for February 23, Mourning said.

Soon after, Dr. Sanoj Punnen, a urologic oncologist at the University of Miami, called Mourning with the news that he had a Gleason score of eight — which reflected a high-grade of prostate cancer.

“And Dr. Punnen tells me, ‘I want to get a PET scan immediately to make sure cancer hasn’t spread through your body,'” Mourning told ESPN. “I was in shock. I can’t tell you enough about how well my body felt. I was in top-notch shape — running sprints, strong. The doctor told me that he couldn’t believe I had had a kidney transplant.

“My partner Mariona is waiting for me outside the PET scan, and we are nervous as hell. I’m sitting in the machine with my arms over my head and my mind racing — waiting for the technician to read the scan. We ended up in a cold waiting room waiting for the tech to come in and finally he looks at us and says he’s got good news: The cancer is still in the (prostate) capsule and hasn’t spread.”

Mourning told ESPN that wants to advocate for people at risk for prostate cancer to get screened. “We live in a world where it’s taboo among men to talk about health issues,” he said. “If I didn’t get routine checkups, I probably wouldn’t be here to talk about this. I want men to be proactive with their health.” Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States, and approximately 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with it, according to the American Cancer Society  

“What scares me about this disease is that there are so many men walking around feeling great and have that cancer in them and they don’t know it,” Mourning said. “The only way to find out is to get their blood tested and get their PSA checked. There are 3.3 million men living in the U.S. with prostate cancer and many don’t even know it. I was one of those guys.”

Mourning, who last played in the NBA in 2008, is serving as the Vice President of Player Programs for the Miami Heat. Mourning was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year during his playing days and helped Miami win the 2006 NBA title. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

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