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Baltimore's Iron Man, Cal Ripken Jr. reveals he had prostate cancer

Cal Ripken Jr.
Posted at 1:02 PM, Aug 20, 2020

BALTIMORE — We all know Cal Ripken Jr. as tough, the Iron Man, indestructible. But he never had to go through something like this.

Ripken went public on Thursday with the news that he beat cancer.

"It scared me. It scared me a lot and it stops you in your tracks," he said.

He has fully recovered from prostate cancer. The Orioles legend was diagnosed in February. He had surgery for it in March.

"The good news is I caught it early," said Ripken. "It was all contained in the prostate. When they took the prostate out I’m cancer free."

Cal was told of his cancer diagnosis after a routine physical, follow up with a urologist and biopsy. He felt no symptoms.

What went through his mind when he learned he had cancer?

"Let me think if I can remember exactly. It’s that, ‘You have prostate cancer. You’re a Gleason (Score) 7', which doesn’t make much sense to me. But I do remember that for some reason," he said.

After that it was all foggy.

"You start thinking about almost a philosophical sort of view of your life and I’ll turn 60 in a week or so," he said. "When you get this kind of news it jolts you and you think about what’s important."

Part of what was important to him over the past few months was to keep it private.

Until now.

"I can potentially help a few other people with this message - and sharing the story - and I help myself along the way because it does give me a freeing sense to continue to live your life."

That message he wants to relay is for people to get their regular physicals and to go to their doctor on a regular basis, not just when they have symptoms. Because, like in his case, if you have something you want to catch it early.

Governor Larry Hogan, a fellow cancer survivor, tweeted his congratulations by recalling a meeting with Ripken earlier this week in which he told him, "cancer didn’t stand a chance against the Iron Man."

September 6 will mark the 25th anniversary of Ripken setting the all-time consecutive games played record of 2,131 straight games.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook