Martina Navratilova is starting 2023 ready to fight.
The 66-year-old tennis legend and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion announced on Monday that she's been diagnosed with throat cancer and breast cancer.
“This double whammy is serious but still fixable,” Navratilova said via the Tennis Channel. “I’m hoping for a favorable outcome. It’s going to stink for a while but I’ll fight with all I have got.”
Navratilova, winner of 18 majors in her Hall of Fame career, discovered an enlarged lymph node in her neck in November while she was in Fort Worth, Texas, doing commentary for the WTA Finals. After a biopsy, she was diagnosed with Stage 1 throat cancer caused by HPV (human papilloma virus). The breast cancer was discovered during the throat cancer tests but is unrelated.
This isn't Navratilova's first bout with cancer. In Feb. 2010 she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, a non-invasive form of breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy a month later and underwent six weeks of radiation. Six months after her initial diagnosis, Navratilova was declared cancer free. No additional info was released about the new breast cancer diagnosis, so it's not known if it's a recurrence of the 2010 cancer.
According to Navratilova's spokesperson, “both these cancers are in early stage with great outcomes.” Throat cancer caused by HPV is typically responsive to treatment, and since Navratilova caught it early, it's in just one part of her throat and has not spread to her vocal cords.
Navratilova will begin treatment later in January and will not travel to the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 16. She was due to appear as an analyst and color commentator for the Tennis Channel, but still hopes to make a few remote appearances from her Florida home.