Tennis star Martina Navratilova diagnosed with throat and breast cancer

Both cancers are unrelated and in stage 1, so hopes of them being treated successfully are high

Martina Navratilova's cancer was discovered in early November during the Women's Tennis Association finals, when she noticed a swelling in her neck. Reuters
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Tennis star Martina Navratilova said on Monday that she has been diagnosed with throat and breast cancer.

The former world number one player and gay rights trailblazer is considered to be one of the greatest stars of all time, winning 59 Grand Slam titles across singles and doubles.

“This double whammy is serious but still fixable,” Navratilova, 66, told the Women's Tennis Association.

“I'm hoping for a favourable outcome. It's going to stink for a while but I’ll fight with all I have got.”

Czech-American Navratilova, who became a US citizen in 1981 and soon afterwards came out as gay, was also diagnosed with and beat breast cancer back in 2010.

Navratilova added that the cancer was in stage 1 and the prognosis was good, with treatments to begin next week.

The cancer was discovered in early November during the WTA finals, when Navratilova noticed a swelling in her neck that did not go down.

“Martina noticed an enlarged lymph node in her neck during the WTA finals in Fort Worth,” said her representative Mary Greenham.

“When it didn't go down, a biopsy was performed, the results came back as stage 1 throat cancer.

“At the same time as Martina was undergoing the tests for the throat, a suspicious form was found in her breast, which was subsequently diagnosed as cancer, completely unrelated to the throat cancer.

“Both of these cancers are in their early stages with great outcomes.”

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Ms Greenham said that Navratilova, who now works as tennis presenter on television and radio, will not travel to Melbourne for the January 16-29 Australian Open but hopes to contribute to the broadcasts remotely.

Tennis fans quickly took to social media offering support, including another, trailblazer Billie Jean King.

“Martina is as brave as she is strong,” King said on Twitter.

“She has fought this battle before, and she is in our thoughts and prayers.”

Updated: January 02, 2023, 10:45 PM