Cavalry FC goalkeeper Marco Carducci has revealed he is recovering from testicular cancer.
In a statement, the 25-year-old from Calgary said he was diagnosed Feb. 16 after going to the team doctor "as soon as I realized something was unusual."
"Following the guidance of our team physician, I sought immediate treatment at Rockyview General Hospital. Within 48 hours I had been admitted, undergone a radical inguinal orchiectomy, and was discharged to recover at home," he said in the statement. "Thankfully, all initial testing indicates that the cancer was caught early and was contained. For that I am beyond fortunate."
The procedure was to remove a testicle with cancer.
Carducci called the experience "an emotional whirlwind."
"I have already started my rehabilitation program to recover from surgery and will continue to work closely with our medical team to be back on the pitch as soon as possible," he said.
Carducci also used his open letter to urge men to watch for signs.
"Testicular cancer is one of the most common and treatable forms of cancer among men aged 15-35, but early detection is key. If something seems unusual, get it checked," he said. "The potential awkwardness of that visit with your doctor is worth it — it certainly was for me."
In an interview with the Canadian Premier League he said testicular cancer is "more common than people think and it's something that happens to young men."
"It happens to men in our age range. And I think when I look across the league, everyone is around my age, in that category where it does happen."
Carducci said the diagnosis was scary — "It hits you like a train." But he had followed past advice from his family doctor to watch for anything unusual. And he had the right help.
"I was in the best hands I could possible be in. So I'm super- super-grateful for that," he added in the interview. "But the message I really want to emphasize is get yourself checked."
"For me, we'll never know for sure but had I put it off longer and longer and just said 'No it's nothing. No, I'm fine. I want to keep playing' … it does get as big as life and death," he added.
A Canadian youth international and two-time winner of Canada Soccer's U-17 Player of the Year award, Carducci has been called into camp by the national team three times but has yet to earn a cap.
He appeared in 26 games for Cavalry in all competitions last season.