The current captain of Hartpury RFC and former Welsh international Rhys Oakley has spoken of a recent cancer diagnosis that emerged in the lead up to routine ankle surgery – report GloucesterLive.
A veteran of the English Premiership, Oakley won three caps for Wales in 2003 and has enjoyed a long career at clubs across the UK and France.
The backrow recently presented for ankle surgery but it was refused as he reported chest pains and a shortness of breath.
“When that operation was due I had a bit of a chest pain and thought really nothing of it,” said Oakley. “I did go to the doctor but they couldn’t really work out what was wrong.”
Symptoms the 37-year-old backrow initially dismissed were then dramatically revealed to have a more sinister cause.
“I went in for the operation and they refused to put me under anaesthetic, which is fair enough considering I had chest pains and didn’t know what it was.”
Shocked to hear this news about club skipper, Rhys Oakley. However, if there's one man who is strong enough to fight this successfully, it is the big man. Go well… Right behind you. #puryfamily https://t.co/cwljZtkvFl
— Hartpury RFC (@HartpuryRFC) July 3, 2018
“They sent me to see a cardiologist to find out what was wrong and make sure there was nothing wrong with my heart to make sure that if I did go under anaesthetic, I was going to wake up.”
The 37-year-old was then given the hammer of blow of being told he had a form of testicular cancer in his chest.
“I had those things done and it came back on Friday that it’s a form of testicular cancer that has not grown in my testicles but has grown in my chest.”
“I went for a CT scan with the cardiologist and they found a large mass lump in my chest cavity behind my breast plate, slightly pushing against my heart which is what was making it hard to breathe.
We'd like to wish @HartpuryRFC captain Rhys Oakley all the best in his battle with cancer.
— GK IPA Championship (@Champrugby) July 4, 2018
“They initially thought it could be a lymphoma or some kind of cancerous mass but weren’t sure so they needed to do a biopsy and blood tests.
The 6’5, 108kg backrow now faces more test and intensive chemotherapy to reduce the tumour.
He told Gloucester Live: “They’ve told me that I have to do a few more tests to make sure it’s not anywhere else and is solely in my chest.
“Once that’s all done I suppose they’ll start me on a course of intensive therapy, chemotherapy, drugs to try and shift it as soon as possible with the thought that if they don’t completely reduce it with chemotherapy then it may be surgically removed.”
Oakley has played for Northampton Saints, Bristol Bears, Dragons and Leeds Carnegie among other sides. He also appeared for Wales in the Commonwealth Games in 2006, being part of the squad who won the Plate competition in Sevens.
Read the full story at Gloucester Live.
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