Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of basketball's all-time greatest players, announced Tuesday morning that he has cancer. The sports legend made the public disclosure nearly a year after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Abdul-Jabbar, 62, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in December 2008 after having hot flashes and sweats. His blood work revealed that his white blood cell count was "sky high," he said. Now taking medication for the blood disease, he is expected to have a regular life span.

"When the doctor told me I had cancer, I was scared," said Abdul-Jabbar. "My grandfather and my uncle both died from colorectal cancer, my dad almost died from it and I have the gene for it. It's in my family, so I thought this was something else along those lines, but it's not."

Abdul-Jabbar, a father of five, said he came forward after learning many patients don't regularly take their medication and skip appointments to the doctor.

"I'm telling my story to encourage fellow patients to take charge of their health," he said. "Work closely with your doctor, monitor your disease and, above all, take your medicine."

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