Former Chargers Defensive Tackle Tony Savage returned to the field October 18th to reveal something he rarely acknowledged in the past. In 2011, he underwent a mastectomy as part of his treatment for breast cancer.
A number of former players who attended the homecoming event had surgeries in the past, although most had something to do with the injuries they sustained in their career. Like many of them, Tony underwent knee replacement surgery in 2012, an ordeal he had revealed to his team mates and the media. However, his bout with breast cancer has remained a secret until now.
In 2010, Tony felt a lump on the left side of his chest. He thought it was something career-related just like the rest of his injuries so he decided to ignore it. Over time, Tony felt the lump wasn’t getting any smaller; in fact it was growing steadily enough to prompt anybody else to consult a doctor. Tony didn’t even mention having a lump to anybody until he got in a car accident a few months down the road.
Savage mentioned having a lump to his doctor while undergoing treatments for the injuries he sustained in the accident. In a span of a few days, Tony underwent a mammogram, a biopsy and was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer.
Tony, now cancer-free, wants every man out there to know that if breast cancer can happen to a fit, manly NFL player, it can happen to any man.
“But really, it’s an important message for men to hear as well. Coming from an NFL background, being a professional football player, Tony’s the last person you’d think would have to worry about breast cancer because of that athletic, male image of a football player. It’s an important step. I think it can open a lot of eyes.”
It’s highly courageous for Tony to come out in the open and admit to having battled breast cancer. We need more people like him to come forward and talk about how important it is to get screened as soon as a lump is felt anywhere on the body.
Photo Courtesy of UTS San Diego