Lance Armstrong


Biography: Lance Armstrong was born on September 18, 1971 in Piano, Texas. He was raised by his mom Linda and had been athletic since an early age. At the age of only 16, he became a professional triathlete and was the National Sprint-Course Triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990. However, nearly 6 years later in the month of October he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and the tumors had spread to his abdomen, lungs, and lymph nodes. After this shocking diagnosis, he had to have his testicle removed and as well as undergo aggressive chemotherapy. He had a 65 to 85 percent of survival at the time, but those rates dropped lower when a tumor was found in his brain. Fortunately they were able to remove the tumor safely and he was declared Cancer free in February 1997. Throughout all his recovery he claimed that he would return to racing as soon as possible, but few believed this. In fact, Cofidis cancelled his contract, and it wasn’t until after a great deal of trouble was Lance able to sign with a new sponsor: The United States Postal Service Team. Not only did he find a new sponsor during this time, he also founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation for Cancer, more commonly known as LiveStrong, and the Lance Armstrong Junior Race Series to help promote cycling and racing among America’s youth. In the year 2000, another misfortune occurred when Lance and another cyclist were hit by a car while biking in Southern France. Luckily, neither were seriously injured and Lance was able to recover in time to compete at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia where he won the bronze in the individual time trial. That same year he wrote a best-selling autobiography entitled It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, and three years later he wrote another one called Every Second Counts. Lance Armstrong was married to Kristin Richard and they had a son named Luke, followed by a set of twin daughters named Isabelle and Grace in 2001. However, the couple divorced in 2003. Since then Lance has dated Sheryl Crow, Tory Burch, Kate Hudson, and Ashley Olsen. In 2005, he announced he would be retiring but in 2009 he came back and raced in the Tour de France and scored 3rd. He told reporters that he intended to compete again within the next few years with a new team endorsed by Radio Shack. The Retail Chain will also sponsor Armstrong as a runner and triathlete.

Cancer Information: It was tragically at the pinnacle of his career; Lance Armstrong was forced to get off his bike in excruciating pain. He went to his doctor and unfortunately was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 1996. Prior to his visit with his doctor, Lance began to have swelling and immense pain in his testicles, eventually he started to cough up blood. His testicle became a serious problem so he underwent surgery to get it removed. A CT-Scan was performed later that day and the dreadful news was given. The cancer has spread into his lungs and abdomen. It was very serious and he had to undergo chemotherapy.

Thankfully the cure rate for testicular cancer in the advanced stage is between 60% and 85%. He discovered his testicular cancer late but early symptoms should have been a swelling or lump in one or both of the testes. Pain may or may not be present, but for Lance, the pain was delayed. Other symptoms involve heaviness in the scrotum and a dull feeling of pain in the region of the lower abdominal area, groin, or lower back. These are similar to other conditions such as hydrocele, varicocele and others. For Lance who dealt with advanced testicular cancer, he dealt with lack of energy, shortness of breath, and even some confusion.

There are many potential causes of testicular cancer. The main risk factor is undescended testicles, or cryptorchidism. Before birth, the testicles normally develop in the belly of the fetus and move down into the scrotum. But in 3% of males, the testicle may get stuck in the belly or in the groin. Another risk factor is having a family history of testicular cancer. Very few cases of testicular cancer are actually found in families though. HIV infection can increase the risk as well. Nine out of ten cases occur in men between 20 and 54 and also seem to happen in taller man but no studies confirm this.

It is estimated that about 8,000 diagnoses of testicular cancer are made each year in the United States. The risk is about a 1 in 250 chance but on the bright side, testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancer. Chemotherapy offers an 85% cure rate. Testicular cancer is most common among Caucasian men and very rarely occurs in African Americans. It is also uncommon in Asia and Africa. Worldwide incidence has doubled since the 1960s. The rate has slowly been growing over the 20th century especially in western countries. To check for testicular cancer, men can get biopsys, ultrasounds, and blood tests.

Thankfully Lance Armstrong and others who have testicular cancer do not have as much to worry about. Men can easily check about once a month for any unusual bumps in their testicles and as long as they are aware, they will know what to look for to see if they have cancer. The cure rate is very high and for Lance, even with his advanced testicular cancer, he was able to be cured. Testicular cancer has a good amount of research but because it is rarer than other cancers, there is not as much to worry about. Also it is often times not as lethal as other cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, in the USA last year, there were about 8,500 cases of testicular cancer. There were only 350 deaths which means less than 5% of people who have it die. the cure rate is well over 90% and those with low stage testicular cancer have almost a 99% cure rate. Chemeotherapy takes its toll on an individual but it is life-saving. Also, a man can get one of his testicles removed if it develops cancer cells. Men might be scared to become impotent or sterile but as long as they still have one healthy testicle, they will be alright. Radiation therapy is also an efficient way to kill cancer cells. The most important thing a man can do after removing cancer from their testicles is to have several checkups a year and be very aware of carcinogens. Chemeotherapy may increase risks of certain leukemias and other types of cancer. Hope is still high though for those dealing with testicular cancer. Lance Armstrong did not need a miracle to be saved. It was just modern science.


Conclusion: In an interview with Lance Armstrong he stated that he knew something had been wrong with him three years before he was even diagnosed with testicular cancer. He stated that there always was a size difference between his two testicles so he shrugged it off and thought nothing of it. It wasn't until it became too painful for him to even sit on a bike did he go to the doctor to get it checked out. This was a very dangerous move and a big risk factor for Lance Armstrong. If he had gone to the doctor when he first realized something wasn't right they may have been able to catch the cancer before it spread to his abdomen, brain, etc. Lucky for Lance, he was able to overcome the cancer and survive but ignoring something like this could have been fatal. Another risk factor he had was that he was a young man in between the ages of 15 and 34, and although it can come at any age, it is more common amongst men between those ages.


Also, later in this same interview, Lance Armstrong was asked what his exact treatments were. He responded, "One 3 week cycle of BEP here in Austin...outpatient...then I went to MD Anderson and then to Indiana University...I had the brain operation there the Thursday prior to my next chemo cycle and then started that the following Monday with 3 more cycles of VIP. The last VIP (chemos) were inpatient...cycles 3 and 4 I was sick as a dog, but I didn't lose any weight. One thing I don't understand--you're in this place where they're trying to make people better, trying to heal people--and they serve this food, it has to kill people!" In simpler terms, Lance Armstrong had his testicle removed in an operation first. Then he went onto level 4 chemotherapy (very strong) because his cancer was so advanced. At first it seemed that he was going to make a strong recovery but unfortunately after a CT-scan it was found that his cancer had spread to his brain. Luckily for him, the doctors were able to remove the tumor in his brain with an operation, and he has now been declared cancer free for over ten years.


After recovering from cancer, Lance Armstrong founded the Lance Armstrong Association for Cancer, more commonly known as LiveStrong. LiveStrong organization inspires and empowers people with Cancer to help them overcome. They organize many social events, such as runs and triathlons, to make money for Cancer Research as well as sell products in which the money made from them goes into the research as well. The website also has a blog section where people with cancer or who know someone with cancer are able to blog about their experience, and have feedback and support from others. There also includes a donation section on their website where people can donate any type of money to support Cancer research and people who have it. Finally the website includes a lot of information about cancer so you can learn more about it. It also includes one-on-one support to help you cope with cancer, or cope with a loved one with cancer and the challenges that comes with it. It truly is an amazing organization.


Works Cited
Armstrong, Lance. “Lance Armstrong.” Lance Armstrong. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2011. <>.
- - -. “Lance Armstrong Story.” Interview by Jim Ochowicz. Cycling News. Motorola Cycling, 8 Oct. 1996. Web. 29 Apr. 2011. <‌results/‌archives/‌oct96/‌lance.html>.
Brewer, Chris. Interview. Testicular Cancer Resource Center. N.p., 17 Jan. 2007. Web. 4 May 2011.
Clinic, Mayo. “Testicular Cancer.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Oct. 2009. Web. 4 May 2011. <‌health/‌testicular-cancer/‌DS00046/‌DSECTION=risk-factors>.
Gunderson, Lance Edward. “Lance Armstrong Biography.” Bio. True Story. A&E Television Network, n.d. Web. 4 May 2011. <‌articles/‌Lance-Armstrong-9188901>.
“Livestrong.” Livestrong. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 4 May 2011. <>.
“Testicular Cancer: Questions and Answers.” National Cancer Institute. USA Gov., 24 May 2005. Web. 4 May 2011.
“Testicular Cancer - Symptoms.” Web MD. Healthwise, 26 Jan. 2009. Web. 29 Apr. 2011. <‌cancer/‌tc/‌testicular-cancer-symptoms>.