Martina Navratilova Diagnosed With Throat and Breast Cancer
Martina Navratilova, arguably the greatest women's tennis player of all time, has been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer. The 66-year-old announced the news Jan. 2, according to an Associated Press report.
"This double whammy is serious but still fixable, and I'm hoping for a favorable outcome," Navratilova said in the statement. "It's going to stink for a while, but I'll fight with all I have."
Navratilova noticed an enlarged lymph node on her neck during the Women's Tennis Association finals in November at Fort Worth, Texas, according to the report. When the lymph node didn't diminish in size, a biopsy revealed it was early-stage throat cancer. As Navratilova underwent tests for her throat, doctors discovered a lump in her breast. The lump was diagnosed as breast cancer, unrelated to the throat cancer.
This isn't Navratilova's first brush with cancer. In 2010, the tennis hall-of-famer was diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer after a tumor was found during a routine mammogram. Navratilova had the tumor removed via a lumpectomy, the report stated, and underwent radiation treatment before being declared cancer-free.
Over the course of her four decades-long career, the Czech Republic native won 59 Grand Slam titles, including 18 singles, 31 women's doubles and 10 mixed doubles. She was the No. 1 women's singles player for a total of 332 weeks, second only to Steffi Graf's 377 weeks.
After retiring from full-time singles competition in 1994 at age 37, Navratilova continued competing in doubles and winning titles until age 50.
What to know about throat cancer
Throat cancer, a type of head and neck cancer, refers to cancer that grows in the pharynx (throat) or larynx (voice box). Most people diagnosed with throat cancer use tobacco or alcohol, according to Yale Medicine.
However, an increasing number of cases are being detected in people with viral infections such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis, or "mono."
Throat cancer is usually treated by surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
What to know about breast cancer
Breast cancer refers to cancer that grows in the breast, most often originating in the lobules (milk-producing glands) or ducts (passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple). Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affects women, second to nonmelanoma skin cancer. In the United States, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
Breast cancer is linked to different risk factors, including genetics, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, reproductive history and obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Breast cancer treatments vary depending on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread, and may include surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and radiation therapy.
In light of the "double-whammy" diagnosis, Navratilova, who works as a tennis broadcaster, will not be covering the Australian Open from the Tennis Channel studio in January, but hopes to join in from time to time via Zoom, according to the statement.
"Needless to say, my phone and Twitter are both blowing up so I will say again—thank you all for your support and I am not done yet," Navratilova tweeted Jan. 2.