Vive Le Tour

7/11/2019 - Monocle Journal

On the 2nd of October 1996, a 25-year-old Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with Stage 3 testicular cancer. By the time of his diagnosis, the cancer had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain. He was coughing up blood and his affected testicle was severely swollen. The Texan urologist who made the initial diagnosis, Jim Reeves, believed that there was little chance of his patient surviving, admitting later that, with the kind of cancer Armstrong had, there was “almost no hope”. In the months after his diagnosis, Armstrong had his cancerous testicle removed and had surgery to remove lesions on his brain that were found to contain extensive necrosis – permanent damage to brain cells that causes their premature death. Miraculously, in February of 1997, after Armstrong had completed a successful programme of chemotherapy treatment, he was declared cancer-free. By January 1998, he was training with his new cycling team, US Postal Service, and less than three years after his diagnosis, he raced again in the Tour de France.