'I'll never give up': Former Rochdale player Joe Thompson reveals diagnosis of 'aggressive' stage four cancer

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Former Rochdale footballer Joe Thompson has revealed stage four cancer diagnosis

Former Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson has revealed stage four cancer diagnosis. The 35-year-old, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2013, recovered before the cancer returned four years later. He was then given the all-clear a second time before ending his career in 2019.

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, he said the cancer has “come back quite aggressive” and it has now spread to his lungs. He said: “It is far from ideal and it's come back quite aggressive, so stage four...”

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“(The) only positive is it is the same cancer as what I've had previously, but the issue for me this time is its gone on to my lungs, so breathing is a problem, sleeping is difficult and even talking sometimes can be quite hard. Definitely the fight is still inside, nothing changes, but actually facing it for the third time really hurts because you know what you are going to have to go through.”

Former Rochdale footballer Joe Thompson has revealed stage four cancer diagnosis Former Rochdale footballer Joe Thompson has revealed stage four cancer diagnosis
Former Rochdale footballer Joe Thompson has revealed stage four cancer diagnosis | Joe Thompson/Instagram

Thompson played 203 games for Rochdale, but in his last season with the team, he only played once. He revealed that he had pushed his body too hard and his battle with cancer began during his time at Tranmere.

After undergoing treatment, he joined Bury and went on loan to Southport and Wrexham to regain his fitness. He returned to Rochdale in 2016, but his health deteriorated, requiring more treatment. He declared himself cancer-free in June 2017 and less than a year later, he scored a crucial goal that secured Rochdale's place in League One, defeating Charlton on the final day of the season.

He continued: “It's weighing up all the options and trying to understand what do you want to get out of life?” He added. “Ultimately I want a quality of life where I can be like everybody else, play with my children, be as active as possible and enjoy life.”

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“The problem with a third diagnosis is it's like the grim reaper, here I am again. Then you start to think of all the emotions.

“I'd be lying if I said there's not days where I doubt certain things, but I've always said I will never, ever give up, I'll just get beaten if it does get on top of me.”

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