AFL 2021: Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty opens up on cancer shock, pre-season and the Blues’ future

Inspirational Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty has urged people to get regular health checks and seek prompt medical advice if they notice any issues with their bodies, saying early intervention late last year may have saved his life.

Docherty was diagnosed with a malignant testicular tumour in November after initially finding a lump while the club was in its Queensland hub.

A decision from him and club doctors to have an ultrasound on his return to Melbourne six weeks after the Blues’ 2020 season ended saw him undergo surgery to have the tumour removed.

He is fit and well again, and gearing up for a big year for the Blues.

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Sam Docherty is fit and ready for the Blues’ pre-season fixtures. Picture: Martin Keep/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Docherty, 27, said he had been shocked by the diagnosis at the time, but couldn’t be more appreciative for the support of his wife Natalie, his family and friends, as well as the medical experts.

“It was a state of shock,“ Docherty told the Sunday Herald Sun in an exclusive interview.

“The natural reaction of someone my age (being told they had cancer) is you just don’t think it can occur, but I now know differently.

“With cancer, you think elderly … you think life threatening … you think death.”

But his mindset changed immediately after coming to terms with the initial diagnosis, knowing he had to do what needed to be done.

He also resolved to spread the message to others that early intervention is the best course of action, particularly for those people – many of them young males – who are reluctant to get regular medical tests.

“I don’t think I am abnormal but I am like ‘if something is not right, I am going to go and get it checked out’, but I am learning there are a lot of guys who don’t (have that view),” Docherty said. “But I just don’t see the negative about going in and getting yourself tested.

“At least by doing that, if they find something, there is at least a plan to fix it. There are obviously some things that you can’t fix, but you have to find out.

“Inevitably, it is what it is. It is your body, you can’t change it and the longer you leave it, it gives you a lesser percentage of being able to get over it.”

After his cancer scare, Docherty resolved to spread the message to others that early intervention is the best course of action. Picture: Tim CarrafaSource:News Corp Australia

Just four days after receiving the bad news late last year, Docherty was sent for surgery, which was successful, and set him on the road to recovery.

“If I had forgotten to do it (get tested) then, I could have gone another two or three weeks (without being tested), and we would have been two or three weeks back.

“I am healthy now, and I feel good.”

He has also overcome separate ankle surgery from last year – which took place the week after his cancer surgery – and he is now preparing for Carlton’s first pre-season clash.

“I think there will be regular updates of scans and we do whatever needs to be done to make sure nothing spreads and nothing goes any further,” he said.

“If it does, we will cross that path if it happens. ”

Originally published asBlues star’s important message after cancer shock

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