Former Hibs manager Alan Stubbs has spoken of how his world was “turned upside down” after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.
The former Celtic centre half was told he had the disease in 1998 aged 28 and underwent surgery in 2001 when further tests revealed a tumour at the base of his spine.
It came as a huge shock to Stubbs at the peak of his career, and admits the experience changed his outlook on life.
He said: “Being told I had cancer pulled the rug from under me. I was young, at the height of my career and it was the last thing I expected to hear.
“I credit football with saving my life, as I was diagnosed as a result of a routine drug test. Had I not been pulled in after the Scottish Cup Final, my story might have been very different.”
The footballer made a full recovery and was back playing football within months, but realises how fortunate he was that it was caught early.
He added: “I feel like the luckiest guy in the world as my cancer was found early and I was able to access treatments and care that help me beat it.
“There’s so much that can be done to treat cancer nowadays, and things are changing all the time thanks to the pioneering research that’s saving lives.
“I just put my faith in the doctors and kept a positive mind. Yes, cancer turns your world upside down, but there is hope.”
Investment in research and advances in treatments mean that now 98 per cent of men who are diagnosed with testicular cancer can be cured.
Stubbs also highlighted the importance of people getting concerns checked, as the chances of survival are higher when the disease is found early.
He has backed a worldwide Cancer Research drive to mark World Cancer Day tomorrow.
The Scottish-based charity funded 107 cancer research projects in 17 different countries in 2017, and has committed £4 million towards funding a further 20 projects in 2018, each with a focus on working towards its vision where no life is cut short by cancer.
Dr Helen Rippon, CEO at Worldwide Cancer Research said: “Our vision is that no life should be cut short by cancer, and we’re delighted so many people have united in support of our Lives Turned Upside Down campaign on World Cancer Day.
“Worldwide Cancer Research funds pioneering research projects across the world, working tirelessly to outsmart cancer and find better ways to diagnose and treat the disease.
“This vital research wouldn’t happen without funding and we continue to be indebted to our many supporters who are helping turn things around for those facing a cancer diagnosis and their families.”
To find about more about Worldwide Cancer Research and its life-saving work, visit worldwidecancerresearch.org