Steve Lavin diagnosed with cancer, caught early

Steve Lavin: fighting cancer.

St. John's announced that Coach Steve Lavin will be undergoing treatments for prostate cancer in the coming weeks. Lavin has known the diagnosis since the fall, and coached the season after the early detection of the prostate cancer.

From the Red Storm Sports press release:

"We are pleased that through early detection we determined Coach Lavin's condition as a relatively low-grade cancer, and one that could wait for treatment until the conclusion of the basketball season. We have spoken to Steve and his family about his options, and will proceed with a course of treatment shortly," said Jonathan Schiff, M.D., a board-certified urologist in private practice in New York City. "I expect a complete cure of Coach Lavin's condition and we anticipate a seamless continuation of his coaching duties."

Steve Lavin has been very active in the Coaches vs. Cancer program and the affiliated foundation, wearing the distinctive Jimmy Valvano style - sneakers with a suit - while coaching this season.

Steve Lavin shouldn't miss any coaching or recruiting time, though, and he's raring to beat it. The fans are obviously with Steve Lavin in this tough time... as are Coaches Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim. From ESPN:

"All of us as men can get it," Calhoun told The Associated Press. "I am happy for him that they caught it early. The cure rate then can be 100 percent."

Calhoun, who won his third national title Monday night, was diagnosed in 2003.

"I underwent surgery; he may not," Calhoun said. "But after the surgery I was back coaching in 12 days."....

"He seemed to be on top of it and it was caught early," said Boeheim, who was diagnosed in 2001. "We talked about a number of things. I think he's in real good position to handle this."

Boeheim said the treatment should not keep Lavin from his coaching responsibilities.

"Once he starts whatever he decides as a treatment he should be done with it within a short period of time," he said.

Personally, my dad had a diagnosis of early stage prostate cancer around 2 years ago. He's gone through treatments, and he's doing well. But that initial phone call was sobering, sickening, tough. Rudolph Guiliani also fought prostate cancer and won. Caught at an early stage, prostate cancer shouldn't be a killer. Men above age 40 should think to ask their doctors about it - especially if they're black, have family history of prostate cancer, or are obese. Too many people don't want to talk about it, or get that check up.

For more, check out the Mayo Clinic's tips on reducing the odds of getting prostate cancer; and note that ESPN has partnered with ZERO, the Project to End Prostate Cancer to raise awareness; you can learn more at zerocancer.org.

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