LeBron Had Cancer Scare Last Season
NBA Star Feared Growth Was Malignant
POSTED: 9:38 am CDT October 20, 2009
In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cavaliers star LeBron James admits that his biggest worry last season wasn’t basketball. It was waiting to hear if he had cancer.
James had a biopsy on a growth on his parotid gland, which produces saliva, in January. According to the newspaper, doctors told James that 70 to 80 percent of tumors like his were benign, but still, they needed to be sure.
“It was a nerve-racking experience, but I knew at that point I had to get it done,” James told the Plain Dealer. “I was on edge for those few days; I was lucky the season was going on and we were playing really well so I could concentrate on basketball. My family was nervous.”
The biopsy showed that the mass was benign, but according to the Plain Dealer, James was told that it could become cancerous if it were allowed to grow. The NBA star made arrangements to have the growth removed after the season on June 3, just two days after the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs.
According to the newspaper, the procedure took more than six hours, which was more than twice as long as doctors expected the surgery would take. The Plain Dealer reported that Dr. Frank Papay performed the procedure, which ended up being so time consuming because he needed to work around nerves and muscles that controlled James’ facial movements.
The Cavaliers’ star needed to stay in bed for about a week to recover and he told the Plain Dealer that during that time he didn’t want to talk or eat very much.
“I just relaxed and got some of the best sleep I’ve had in my life,” James told the Plain Dealer.
James now has a thin scar around his right ear.