John Daly's Bladder Cancer Battle
- Professional golfer John Daly continues to impress as he’s set to compete at the 2023 PNC Championship with his son, John Patrick Daly II.
- His success comes after his battle with bladder cancer. He previously underwent surgery to remove the cancer, however, there’s still a high chance the disease will return.
- Despite the chances of recurrence, the father of three appears to be living his best life and continuing to do what he loves.
- Bladder cancer is caused when cells that make up the urinary bladder start growing out of control, which can develop into tumors and over time, if not caught, spread to other parts of the body.
- Smoking is a leading risk factor for this disease with smokers being three times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than non-smokers.
- Fortunately, many bladder diagnoses are caught at an early stage, when the cancer is highly treatable. However, it is common for new occurrences or recurrences to occur even after successful treatments. Patients typically need follow-up tests done years after treatment, just as Daly continues to do.
The 57-year-old golfer and his son, winners of the 2021 PNC Championship, are set to compete at the upcoming 2023 PNC Championship, taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando between December 14 and 17.Read More
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According to the PNC Championship’s official website, John Daly is has confirmed his entry into the 2023 competition, alongside defending champions Vijay and Qass Singh, and past champions, “Justin Thomas (2020), David Duval (2016), Stewart Cink (2013) and Bernhard Langer (2005, 2006, 2014, 2019).”
“Daly will play with John Daly II, Thomas will play with his father Mike, Duval and Cink will team up with their sons, Brady and Reagan, while Langer will play with son Jason, with whom he has won two PNC Championship titles,” the website explains.
This year marks PNC Bank’s 12th year being the title sponsor for the tournament, however, the website notes, “The event was renamed the PNC Championship in 2020, reflecting the world class talent at this inclusive family tournament that showcases the special bonds that the love of golf creates.”
— PNC Championship (@PNCchampionship) October 30, 2023
Anyone interested in watching Daly and his son compete can view the tournament as it’s broadcasted live across NBC, GOLF Channel and Peacock.
Back in 2021, “Team Daly won the winning title with 27-under final score, beating Tiger and Charlie Woods by two strokes,” SB Nation reports.
John Daly’s Cancer Journey
Before his bladder cancer diagnosis in 2020, John Daly was suffering with kidney stones and back pains. It was a visit to the doctor for those issues led to his diagnosis.
Speaking to the PGA Tour Champions Learning Center’s Golf Channel, Daly said, “The doctors were pretty cool about how they explained it.
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“They told me I had bladder cancer but it was one I could beat. I’ll have to change some things in life, but I can beat it.”
For treatment, he underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy. He was reportedly told there was about an 85% chance his cancer would return, but Daly has done a great job focusing on the positives.
“The good news is it wasn’t in the kidneys and it wasn’t in the liver,” Daly said in 2020.
“A lot of people have had it and a lot of them have made it. I only smoked six cigarettes today. Normally I’d smoke about a pack and a half. I’m trying to slow everything down.”
By March 2022 , an interview revealed that things were looking up. He also shared some information about ongoing appointments.
“I go back in May and I’ve got to do once every six months now instead of three, but I’ve still got to do it for five years. Some days I feel like Superman, some days I feel like Jimmy Hoffa 6 feet under,” he said at the time.
Meanwhile, Even though Daly’s surgery to remove the cancer was successful, the chances of the disease returning is 85%.
Since his surgery, Daly has made a vow to start incorporating a more healthy lifestyle by quitting cigarettes and cutting back on his Diet Coke consumption. This definitely could be a difficult transition, since Daly has been known for leading a Rock N’ Roll lifestyle by smoking an estimated 40 cigarettes a day and drinking up to 12 Diet Cokes.
It’s for the best that Daly cuts back on his vices, but it’s nice to see that he hasn’t changed up his one-of-a-kind sense of style or golfing skills.
Understanding Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is caused when cells that make up the urinary bladder start growing out of control, which can develop into tumors and over time, if not caught, spread to other parts of the body.
It’s one of those cancers that you don’t hear about too often, which has always been surprising to me because it is the fifth most common cancer that we see in the American population,” Dr. Jay Shah, the cancer care program leader for urologic oncology at the Stanford Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
[It’s worth noting that the National Cancer Institute puts it as the sixth most common type of cancer in the U.S.]
There are many factors to consider regarding your risk of developing this disease including the following:
- Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than non-smokers.
- Chemical exposure. Some chemicals used in dyes, rubber, leather, printing material, textiles and paint products have been linked to risk of this disease.
- Hydration. Drinking a lot of fluids each day is associated with lower bladder cancer risks. This is partly due to the fact that people who stay well hydrated empty their bladders more often.
- Race. Caucasians are twice as likely to develop this cancer.
- Age. The risk of this disease increases as you age.
- Sex. Men are diagnosed more often than women.
- Personal history. Your risk increases if you or anyone in your family has had bladder cancer.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
One good thing about bladder cancer is that it can often be detected early because hematuria, the first main sign of the disease, is hard to look. This is great because bladder cancer is highly treatable when detected early.
“That is far and away the most common presenting symptom,” Dr. Arjun Balar, director of the genitourinary medical oncology program at NYU’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
Hematuria is blood in the urine. This blood can change the urine’s color to orange, pink and, in some extreme cases, dark red. Hematuria is usually the first sign of bladder cancer, but it can also occur with other health issues too, so it’s important to know that experiencing hematuria does not necessarily mean you have cancer.
Still, you should always bring it up with your doctors so it can be investigated properly.
When bladder cancer is in the early stages, hematuria is usually painless. It can also be brief and irregular leading some people to ignore the symptom altogether. Small amounts of blood in the urine might not even change the urine’s color too noticeably, so the moral of the story is to always be vigilant about your health and promptly address changes to your health when they occur.
Other symptoms of bladder cancer can resemble that of a urinary tract infection.
According to Dr. Balar, some patients might find out they have bladder cancer after “many courses of antibiotics to treat what was thought to be a urinary tract infection that simply did not get better.”
In addition to hematuria, other possible symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- Needing to urinate more frequently than you typically would
- Feeling like you need to urinate urgently even when your bladder isn’t full
- Waking up to urinate many times throughout a night (as we’ve mentioned before)
- Having a trouble urinating because of pain or a burning sensation
- Frequent urination, urgent urination, and uncomfortable urination are all symptoms of bladder cancer.
More advanced cases of bladder cancer can present with symptoms like:
- Inability to urinate
- Pain on one side of the lower back and pelvis
- Loss of appetite
- Unintended weight loss
- Fatigue or weakness
- Bone pain
- Swollen feet
Overall, Dr. Balar’s advice regarding disease prevention and early detection is simple: “Hydrate well, don’t smoke, and make sure that you get in to see your physician if you have symptoms that concern you.”
Should High Risk Individuals Be Screened For Bladder Cancer?
It’s great to be proactive when it comes to your health, but when it comes to bladder cancer, the preventative guidelines differ from other disease.
SurvivorNet experts explain that while the screening guidelines for cancers of the prostate, breast, colon and skin all recommend tests for asymptomatic people, based primarily on age-related risk, the guidelines for bladder cancer screenings make no recommendation to test people who have no symptoms.
High-risk individuals should be screened, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), only if they present with symptoms, such as blood in the urine (hematuria). Dr. Shah, the leader of Stanford’s Cancer Care Program for Urologic Oncology, explains that researchers have studied whether bladder cancer screening for everyone makes sense. The research consistently suggests that universal screening is not appropriate because it is unlikely to lower the risk of dying in individuals who are at average risk.
“Unless there is some specific cause for you to be worked up for bladder cancer, you don’t need to get screened for it,” Dr. Shah says. “The number of people who would be found to have cancer that way, without any blood in the urine or any other symptoms is very, very small. That said, if you see blood in your urine, you should always be screened for bladder cancer if you’re over the age of 40.”
Some doctors may suggest bladder cancer screening for asymptomatic adults who would be considered high risk by the following criteria:
- Had bladder cancer previously
- Have birth defects that affect the bladder
- Experienced long-term exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace
Other common risk factors for bladder cancer, according to the USPSTF, include:
- Smoking, the number one risk factor for bladder cancer
- Male sex (men are four times as likely as women to be diagnosed with
- Older age
- White race
- Parasites that infect the bladder
The presence of other bladder cancer risk factors may also put a person in the high-risk category. However, the screening decision is one that a patient and physician should discuss if there are no obvious symptoms.
A routine urinalysis that reveals hematuria won’t always trigger further testing. Blood in the urine usually has a benign cause, such as a bacterial infection or a kidney stone. If a bladder infection is suspected, but treatment with antibiotics doesn’t clear it up, further testing is appropriate, says Dr. Balar, MD, director of the genitourinary oncology program at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center.
The next screening is usually a cystoscopy. During a cystoscopy, a urologist inserts a cystoscopea long, flexible tube with a tiny light and camera at one end, into the urethra and up into the bladder. In addition to signs of inflammation or other problems, the doctor will look for cancerous nodules.
“If such an abnormal appearance in the bladder is noted, then ultimately the urologist will take the patient to the operating room to perform what is called a TURBT (transurethral resection of the bladder tumor),” Dr. Balar says, noting that this procedure is done under general anesthesia with a more rigid cystoscope.
The instrument scrapes the inner lining of the bladder to assess how invasive the cancer might be. “What we want to know there really is the stage,” Dr. Balar says. “Within bladder cancer, we have tumors that can grow into the lining and outward into the lumen of the bladder. We call those papillary tumors or in situ cancers, which means they don’t invade into the bladder wall, but they are simply present.”
How Parents Find Strength in Children During Cancer Battle
It can help for cancer warriors to know they have a strong support group behind them before and after treatment.
SurvivorNet experts say it helps alleviate anxiety and depression as cancer treatments become more intense over time, or when they adjust to a new normal afterward.
Sometimes the support can come from a supportive spouse or partner or even your children. Young family members such as children can also serve as motivation for cancer warriors. In Daly’s case, he is a father of three, John Patrick Daly II, Sierra Lynn Daly, and Shynah Hale Daly.
Facing cancer as a parent can be incredibly daunting. Fearful thoughts about leaving your children may creep into your mind and add even more to your overflowing plate.
“No matter what your prognosis is, it’s essential to talk openly and honestly with kids,” said Laura Nathan-Garner, Director of Strategic Communications at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“Cancer patients with children can have increased motivation to endure difficult treatment but may also be concerned about the emotional impact of the illness on their offspring,” Dr. Cindy Moore of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center explained to The ASCO Post, an oncology newspaper.
Dr. Moore said cancer warriors with children should discuss their biggest concerns with their healthcare teams so an effective communication plan can be created to explain their diagnosis to their kids.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff