MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder announced Monday that although he is battling throat cancer, he still plans to coach the Wildcats this season.
Doctors call it an illness that is considered one of the more unusual forms of cancer.
“I feel bad having to release this information about my health in this manner prior to sharing it in person with so many personal friends, distant family, players and their families, past and present, and many of the Kansas State football family so close to our program,” Snyder said in a news release. “But, with so much talk presently out there, I certainly owe it to everyone to make them aware of my condition."
Synder said he was diagnosed with throat cancer and has been receiving outpatient treatment at the KU Medical Center for about three weeks.
"The doctors and staffs at both KU Med and M.D. Anderson (in Houston, Texas) have been great; working so very well together to finalize the overall treatment plan which is being conducted in Kansas City," Snyder said.
According to the coach, both ‘teams’ have projected a positive outcome and have worked out a schedule that allows him to be in Kansas City for his regular treatments and still be back in the office on a regular basis through the first week of March.
"I greatly appreciate our President, Richard Myers, and Athletic Director, John Currie, for their continued support, and I’m very grateful to those who have responded over the past 24 hours via calls, texts, emails, etc., with such kind thoughts and words. And again, my apology to each of you whom I did not have the opportunity to reach personally before this release," Snyder said.
According to the news release Snyder’s doctors say his prognosis is excellent. The hall of fame head coach fully expects to be on the field for the start of spring practice in March.
"Certainly radiation and chemotherapy, the combination of those two can be very taxing on the patient, meaning there are a lot of side effects,"said Dr. Kiran Kakarala, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at KU Hospital. "Certainly those treatments have gotten a lot better over time. We’ve been able to reduce those side effects. It is possible to maintain some of your usual routine. But a lot of patients end up taking some time off of work."
Dr. Kakarala says smoking and chewing tobacco are traditional causes for this form of cancer. But in recent years, he says a virus known as HPV has become a more common cause.
It's often discovered by men who notice a lump in their necks while shaving. And the hospital hopes Snyder's announcement will increase awareness of throat cancer in our area.
Treatments typically last six to seven weeks.
“Coach Snyder, his family, our football staff, student-athletes and athletics department administration have my full support,” said President Myers in a news release. “Coach is one of the most determined individuals I have ever met, and I know he will successfully complete this treatment program and be on the field with our student-athletes in no time.”
K-State opens spring practice March 29 which will conclude with the Purple/White Spring Game on April 22.