Johnny Williams has finally spoken about his dramatic journey from scoring for England against the Barbarians last June to undergoing treatment for testicular cancer.
The 23-year-old Newcastle centre had the final round of chemotherapy last month and is now awaiting the all-clear from club physios to resume training.
Speaking on the BBC podcast, You, Me and the Big C, Williams said: “It was definitely a shock. I had just finished pre-season and it was probably the fittest and strongest I had ever been.
“My last game was playing for England against the Baa-Baas in the summer, so I was on a huge high. Then I get this huge setback where I am then watching the World Cup in a hospital bed.
“Cancer was not in my mind. It has never been hereditary in my family. You never think it is going to be you, and especially because of my lifestyle – being an athlete, caring about my diet, caring about my health. I never thought I would get it.
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“My only regret is that I let it go for three months because that might have been the difference between having chemotherapy and not. Instead of having just had surgery, I would be back playing now.”
A World Cup winner in 2016 with the England under-20s, Williams’ advice to young men is don’t hesitate to find out what is wrong if they feel something is up with their health.
“You will never get laughed out of the GP surgery or the hospital or the nurse. It doesn’t matter if there is something small, just get it checked out,” he said, explaining it was a knock in training that forced him to get checked out.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 11, 2019
“It wasn’t a big, traumatic knock,” he said. “This was really subtle and it was badly aching. It wasn’t a direct blow, it’s hard to explain.
“I was walking around the club for about an hour with this ache, thinking this is really bad. I was just thinking about this dull ache that I needed to get rid of, and that it was really serious.
“I then spoke to two of my closest mates, who passed me on our GP’s number, and I rushed to his place and got it checked out. He asked me how long it had been like that for and he got me booked in for a scan straight away.”
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