Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. announces prostate cancer diagnosis, now cancer-free

Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr. (Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

Baltimore Orioles legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. announced on Thursday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February while speaking with reporters on a conference call. Since undergoing surgery and treatment in March, he is now cancer-free.

“It’s been a pretty miraculous few months,” he said (h/t MLB.com). 

The 59-year-old said it was found during a routine checkup.

“My PSA (prostate-specific antigen) was just inching up a little and there was movement in my PSA, which was well within my norm,” he said (h/t MASN.com). “For someone my age it wasn’t really alarming. There could be other reasons why it comes up. Simply you could be riding a bike more than you were before and you’re sitting on your prostate and it causes your reading to be higher. So just as a precaution, I went to a urologist, and the urologist did a few more tests to determine whether I needed a biopsy, and those tests came back iffy.”

“The recommendation was to do a biopsy, which we did in mid-February, and it came back that I had prostate cancer. It was in the early stages, and trying to get around that news and what it means … They say it’s a slow-moving cancer and you don’t have to make a really quick decision and all those things. The answer to do surgery was, it was the right decision to make and that was the easy part of it. But then getting yourself ready to do it was another one.”

While such a diagnosis is daunting enough, the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to spike across the country, thus packing hospitals. Ripken decided to have the procedure as quickly as possible and was discharged within hours of walking in to Johns Hopkins. 

“I don’t know if I’m the only one that’s ever did it in and out on the same day with this kind of surgery. But the good news is it has a real happy ending,” he said. “The cancer was all contained in the prostate, they did a pathology report afterward and confirmed that that was the case. I’ve since had a three-month test to see if my PSA was undetectable and it was, so we can make a case that all the cancer was contained and it’s all out now.”

Ripken spent 21 years in Major League Baseball, all with the Orioles, and holds the all-time record for most consecutive games played at 2,632.