Two months after he had surgery to remove his thyroid gland, Canadian football player Anthony Calvillo has reported a steady recovery from thyroid cancer, according to the Montreal Gazette.
The two-time Grey Cup champion and quarterback of the Montreal Alouettes announced his speedy recuperation at a press conference alongside his personal physician and his wife, Alexia, who has also overcome cancer.
The newspaper said that 38-year-old Calvillo had undergone a total thyroidectomy after doctors detected a malignant carcinoma in the gland. He was also treated with a round of radioactive iodine therapy, which destroys cancerous thyroid cells that remain in the body.
The football player announced that he plans to continue playing for the Alouettes, a team that he joined 13 years ago. Calvillo has the second most passing yards of any quarterback in the Canadian Football league, according to his official team profile. He told the press that he might never have noticed that he had thyroid cancer if he had not been hospitalized in August for a bruised sternum.
CTV reported that doctors noticed a lump in his thyroid while he was being given an extensive physical exam. Biopsies later revealed that the nodule was malignant. The player's physician, Vincent Lacroix, noted that Calvillo will be taking levothyroxine - which is a synthetic thyroid hormone also known by various brand names, including Synthroid and Levoxyl - as part of his post-operative medical regimen.
Individuals who undergo full thyroidectomies must take thyroid hormone supplements. Without this treatment, they will experience hypothyroidism. This condition is characterized by sluggishness, brittle hair, dry skin, muscle cramps and depression, according to the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service.
For people Calvillo's age who are treated for the disease, the outlook is often good. The mortality rate for thyroid cancer among adults between the ages of 35 and 44 is just over 2 percent, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports. Overall, one in 111 Americans will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in their lifetimes, the NCI states.