The news of Yeray’s cancer relapse hit the city of Bilbao very hard. The Lezama product is one of the golden boys of Athletic and seen as a future star and captain. He will now have to undergo chemotherapy treatments and is expected to miss roughly 3 months of action. On Wednesday, two doctors that worked on the first case spoke to the media about the relapse and expected treatment and were very optimistic about his recovery.
Dr. Lopez Vivanco, chief of Oncology at Hospital Quiron and Hospital De Cruces, says that Yeray has a very high chance of being fully cured and expects the defender to absolutely return to playing football.
He should be able to play again. He has over a 90% chance of making a full and complete recovery. In another type of rumor, what Yeray has now would have no chance of a full cure, but in this case the chances of completely healing are very high. He will undergo four to six months of chemotherapy. This same circumstance with other athletes such as Lance Armstrong show that those who come away from recovery can be perfectly fine. The abnormality was an enlarged lymph node and we will have to study it to make the best therapeutic decision for Yeray. It is not uncommon or surprising to relapse with this. The important thing is to encourage patients who have relapsed. When you think the problem has been solved it can come back and you have to have the morale to fight. But I am sure that Yeray is strong mentally and physically and will be able to get passed this problem and return to playing football.
Dr. Antonio Allona, head of urology at Ruber International Clinic in Madrid, is even more optimistic, giving Yeray nearly a guaranteed chance of making a full recovery. He says that the doctors originally advised not to undergo chemotherapy the first time because it may not even be needed, but that turned out to not be the case. He says that the chemotherapy sessions will not be easy, but that he also expects Yeray to return to football very quickly.
Yeray was operated on for a testicular tumor that, in principle, had a good prognosis and that is why the Doctors advised him not to do any other treatments, but there is always a risk of relapse. The relapses with these issues usually come from lymph nodes in a specific are and that is what we are dealing with here. I believe they have found that there is a humoral lymph node there. He has more than a 99% chance of being fully cured. The truth is that if it were not so, the doctors would have had him undergo chemotherapy the first time because you cannot put a life at risk, especially a young man such as him. What we can normally do is avoid certain risks of some treatments that may be unnecessary. In Yeray’s case it went wrong because we assumed that he wouldn’t suffer a relapse. Now that he has relapsed he will need chemotherapy, but it would have been normal to not relapse and avoided further treatment. Testicular tumors are solid tumors and the most sensitive to chemotherapy. Over 99% of cases are cured. It it is caught in time, which is surely the case with Yeray, he will be cured for sure. Still, chemotherapy isn’t something fun that he will look forward to. It will take four cycles, with roughly four weeks between each cycle. It is a hard thing and it will be difficult, but it is going to heal him for sure.
If Yeray is able to return in three months time, he would be coming back in the middle of September. That means that he wouldn’t miss much of the season at all. Still, cancer is a very serious issues and his health is by far much more important than football. Athletic will give him all the time needed to fully recover and make his return to the pitch. In the meantime, Cuco Ziganda will fill the hole left by Yeray with other defenders such as Eneko Boveda and Xabi Etxeita.