As the Baltimore Orioles enters season play on Thursday, they’re missing outfielder, Trey Mancini, 28, who is continuing treatment for stage 3 colon cancer.
“My treatment will take six months,” Mancini shared in the The Players’ Tribune when he announced his diagnosis in April, “every two weeks for six months. If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me.”
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Baseball fans have shared their support for Mancini, who continued his puppy-powered recovery from surgery through June (below). His team adopted the hashtag #F16HT, honoring Mancini’s no. 16 jersey, in response to his emotional announcement in The Players Tribune.
— Sara Perlman (@saraperlman) June 9, 2020
“My Dad Had Stage II Colon Cancer”
Mancini felt fatigued during spring training, before the pandemic shut down the season. He chalked it up to “just getting older.” But when bloodwork from his team physical showed his iron levels sinking, Orioles doctors became concerned.
“Colon cancer was a remote possibility, but it was my last concern,” Mancini said. “No way I had that. My dad had had Stage II colon cancer in 2011, but he was 58 then. We just thought I was way too young.”
Mancini went for an endoscopy and colonoscopy hoping to rule out stomach ulcer or celiac disease. “My girlfriend, Sara … was holding my hand — squeezing it, actually — when I woke up,” Mancini wrote.
“I was still woozy from the anesthesia, but before [the doctor] even said the word cancer I was thinking to myself, ‘there’s no way that he’s about to say what I think he’s about to say.’ And then he said it: They had found a malignant tumor in my colon. My dad’s an ob-gyn. I’m familiar with the way doctors talk. I knew immediately that this was real.”
Stage 3 means the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, says Dr. Daniel Labow, Chief of the Surgical Oncology Division at Mount Sinai Health System.
Sara Perlman, the host of NBC Sports’ “The Daily Line”, met Mancini as the sideline reporter for the Baltimore Orioles and has been by his side during his treatment.
“From Trey’s cancer diagnosis to quarantine, this has been a wild few months. But I feel really lucky and blessed to say that he is over halfway done with treatments!!!,” Perlman shared on Instagram on June 10. “We can also check home nurse off the list because taking out his medication and take-home IV is a piece of cake now :)”
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I met Trey a few years ago working at MASN. I still laugh thinking about a show we did together back in 2017. He was one of my favorite people to interview. I knew I’d get great insight and he’d have a good attitude about whatever I asked! I never thought life would take me where it has, but I’m so happy it did. After I left Baltimore, he must have missed my daily interviews and lengthy questions sooo much he asked me to dinner. Six months later, here we are. From Trey’s cancer diagnosis to quarantine, this has been a wild few months. But I feel really lucky and blessed to say that he is over halfway done with treatments!!! We can also check home nurse off the list because taking out his medication and take-home IV is a piece of cake now 🙂 People come into your life for a reason and I’m so glad our jobs had us cross paths. Super proud of you and your strength on a daily basis.
“Chemo In The Age Of COVID-19 Is Crazy”
“Going into my surgery, we weren’t sure if it was late stage 2 or early stage 3,” Mancini told Press Box in May. Afterward, his doctor told him that 3 of his 23 lymph nodes had tested positive for cancer, going on to tell him, “Even though he got the tumor out, it didn’t really break through the colon. You never know if a cell can escape anywhere else in the body, and the chemo at that point is kind of like an insurance policy.”
“I’ve just had to quickly accept this as my new reality. And I have a new challenge ahead of me now: Rather than facing Gerrit Cole on Opening Day, I’m going to have to go through chemo. And chemo in the age of COVID-19 is crazy.”
Mancini has drawn inspiration from his father’s cancer battle: “It was tough to see him go through that experience, but it definitely helped me, Mancini told Press Box.
“When polyp that is found during a colonoscopy is removed, it can actually prevent the development of cancer,” says Dr. Zuri Murrell, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Colorectal Cancer Center.
“Luckily he didn’t have to go through chemo,” Mancini noted, of his father’s treatment. “Having somebody like that … really helped me, too, throughout all this. He’s been the biggest person I’ve leaned on throughout it all.”
“I’m So Lucky”
“Without the Orioles, I never would have caught this,” said Mancini, who is grateful the Orioles team doctors insisted he follow up on his worrisome blood test. His only symptom was “just feeling a little more tired than normal,” he says.
“Without that second blood test, I probably would not have discovered the tumor until I had a total blockage of my colon,” Mancini says. “My doctor was awesome. I was surrounded by people I love … I am so lucky.”
Staging Colon Cancer
In stage 1 and stage 2 colon cancer, the tumor has not grown outside of the colon. Stage 1 cancers are those in which the tumor has only penetrated the superficial layers of the colon, whereas stage 2 cancers involve the deeper layers of the colon wall.
Stage 3 cancers are those in which the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes around the colon. In this case, the cancer has spread outside of the colon wall, but has not spread to distant organs, as in stage 4 colon cancer.
The standard treatment of stage 3 colon cancer is surgery, followed by chemotherapy to kill any cancer cells that were not removed with surgery. One of the most common chemotherapy regimens used is FOLFOX (fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, and leucovorin). Chemotherapy following surgery for stage 3 colon cancer has been shown to reduce the risk of recurrence and improve overall survival.