Alonzo Mourning had surgery to remove prostate following cancer diagnosis

Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning revealed on Monday that he recently had surgery to remove his prostate following a cancer diagnosis.

Mourning discussed his condition with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer and underwent a procedure to remove his prostate in March. He said that testing revealed that the cancer didn’t spread beyond his prostate capsule and that he is now cancer-free.

In his interview with Wojnarowski, Mourning advocated that at-risk men more than 45 years old undergo regular PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood tests to check for cancer.

“What scares me about this disease is that there are so many men walking around feeling great and have that cancer in them and they don’t know it,” Mourning said. “The only way to find out is to get their blood tested and get their PSA checked. There are 3.3 million men living in the U.S. with prostate cancer, and many don’t even know it. I was one of those guys.”

Per the American Cancer Society, the risk of prostate cancer rises with age. It’s “rare” for men less than 40 years old to have prostate cancer, but the chance of having the disease “rises rapidly” after 50 years of age. Roughly six in 10 prostate cancer diagnoses take place in men older than 65, per the ACS.

Men with a family history of prostate cancer, African American men and Caribbean men of African descent are at higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the ACS. Mourning’s father and grandfather both had prostate cancer.

Alonzo Mourning says that he's now cancer-free and urges men to undergo screening for the disease. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)Alonzo Mourning says that he's now cancer-free and urges men to undergo screening for the disease. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Alonzo Mourning says that he’s now cancer-free and urges men to undergo screening for the disease. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Mourning, 54, told ESPN that he felt like he was “in top-notch shape” prior to his diagnosis and only learned of his cancer through testing. In 2022, his urologist flagged his PSA levels as “creeping up,” prompting an MRI that led to a biopsy that revealed his diagnosis.

“I was in shock,” Mourning said. “I can’t tell you enough about how well my body felt. I was in top-notch shape — running sprints, strong.”

Mourning said that he’s been recovering and returning to his normal life since the March procedure. A 15-season NBA veteran as a player, Mourning has worked in the Miami Heat front office since his retirement in 2008.

“Life was good and amazing for me, but if I had ignored getting checked and let this go, the cancer would’ve spread through my body,” Mourning said. “Unfortunately, as men, we don’t like to go to the doctor, but this is the only way to find out what’s going on in your body. Prostate and even colon cancer are silent killers, and many men won’t get those diagnosis until it’s too late.”

Mourning joined the NBA as the second pick of the 1992 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets after the Orlando Magic selected Shaquille O’Neal first overall. He helped lead the Hornets to the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance and series victory as a rookie. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to O’Neal.

After three seasons, including two All-Star campaigns in Charlotte, he joined the Miami Heat, where he played 11 seasons over two stints. He won an NBA championship with the Heat playing alongside O’Neal and Dwyane Wade in 2006. A seven-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mourning was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

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