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Orioles star Trey Mancini announces stage 3 colon cancer diagnosis as he begins chemotherapy in Baltimore

The Orioles' Trey Mancini runs the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Blue Jays on Aug. 1, 2019.
The Orioles' Trey Mancini runs the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Blue Jays on Aug. 1, 2019. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Orioles star Trey Mancini, who had a malignant tumor in his colon surgically removed last month toward the end of baseball’s abbreviated spring training, wrote in a piece on The Players’ Tribune that he began chemotherapy for Stage III colon cancer on April 13 at a Baltimore hospital.

“My treatment will take six months — every two weeks for six months,” he wrote. “If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me.

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“But I want everybody to know that I’m OK.”

The article, posted Tuesday morning, outlined Mancini’s diagnosis and treatment from a routine spring training physical in Florida and the colonoscopy that revealed the tumor, to his subsequent return to Baltimore for surgery and to begin chemotherapy.

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In Stage 3 colon cancer, the cancer has spread outside of the colon to the surrounding lymph nodes. The surgery to remove the tumor also takes pieces of the lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread there, with chemotherapy being the next step, said Vivek Kumbhari, Director of Bariatric Endoscopy and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Mancini’s story also touches on how unique getting treated for cancer is in the age of COVID-19, with no one allowed into the hospital with him for his treatment and extra precautions required as he enters and leaves.

Mancini, 28, said that he was feeling tired in spring training, and had to get a second blood test after the physical he took upon reporting to camp in Sarasota, Florida, revealed low iron levels. Regarding the colonoscopy and endoscopy, Mancini said that the doctors told him they were expecting to confirm that he had celiac disease, which causes gluten to damage the small intestine.

But they found a malignant tumor instead, forcing Mancini to process that all quickly.

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Mancini wrote: “That didn’t change the fact that the news was really tough — just shocking, to be honest. I was young … And without the Orioles I never would have caught this before it may have been too late. There was really no indication that anything was wrong other than me just feeling a little more tired than normal. Everything that comes up when you Google colon cancer? I didn’t have any of it. And so without that second blood test I probably would not have discovered the tumor until I had a total blockage of my colon. Instead, from the day I was diagnosed to when the tumor was removed was just six days — March 6 to March 12.”

Mancini also wrote of his disappointment to be missing the season after signing a one-year, $4.75 million deal with the Orioles in his first year significantly above the league-minimum salary, and a season in which he got to stay with the Orioles after a year of constant trade speculation.

He wrote in gratitude for the team’s trainers and medical staff, his teammates who have all stayed in touch on a group chat, and the friends and supporters who have reached out to him — including Orioles legend and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.

“On a smaller scale, I’d rather there be a baseball season right now,” Mancini wrote. “That way I could go to home games and hang out in the dugout and be with all the guys. So, I really wish there was a season going on and everything was normal. Baseball will be back. I don’t know when, but I’m sure the game will return.

I’ve got other things to worry about right now, though. I know that. But still, every once in a while I catch myself thinking ahead — to when chemo is over, to when they remove my port, to when I can start going full-speed again.”

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