England international Alex Corbisiero opens up about testicular cancer battle - Ruck

England international Alex Corbisiero opens up about testicular cancer battle

England and Lions prop Alex Corbisiero has opened up about his battle with testicular cancer at the age of 31.

The prop is now emerging through the other side and luckily the cancer had not spread.

He must wait a year to discover if the chemotherapy has left him infertile, but his sperm was frozen so he can still dream of a family.

“I just felt something wasn’t right,” Corbisiero, who had the 7cm-long cancerous testicle removed, revealed to The Times.

“I could tell it felt a bit bigger, a bit harder, it was starting to get a little bit sore. I started to notice bumping into it. I had been keeping an eye on it for a couple of weeks and it felt like it was growing every day. Finally when I had a break I went to get it checked.

“It was always on my radar slightly because my dad had testicular cancer when he was 28. I was still in denial. I was going to get this checked and then go to jiu jitsu. My brother was waiting in the car. Next thing I had to call him and say, ‘Hey bro, I have got testicular cancer’.

“The doctor said, ‘Very few people die from this’. That was my initial thought: ‘I don’t want to die’. You are in shock and very emotional. You can’t believe it all changed on that day and you are dealing with this.”

He said: “I have unbelievable respect for people who have to go through longer stints.

“I reacted to it very strongly. Within two hours I felt very ill. It was rough. Your mind, you are playing with anxiety and your thoughts.

“This was a real test. I failed at times, I let myself down at times and let it get the better of me. I was scared about it, especially at the start. You feel very vulnerable.


“You feel insecure. Your confidence is low. I let it defeat me at times but that is the whole journey. You get caught up in it. Even when you know it is going to be OK, you are still nervous about it.

“I had a beautiful fiancee who is strong and impressive and I wanted to be strong and impressive for her. Your inner voice is saying: ‘You are out of shape, you are damaged goods, you have got one ball’.

“All this stuff is going through your head all the time that you have to battle and fight with.”

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1. Barry John

Barry John is arguably the finest outside-half of all time. During his short playing career he was revered in Wales as “The King” and feared by opposition defences as a majestic yet unpredictable pivot behind the scrum. The Wales and British & Irish Lions legend was 27 when he retired and there was no way back then because he professionalised himself by writing his autobiography and becoming a newspaper columnist.