Martina Navratilova was famous during her tennis career for her exploits on the court and the trophies she won. But her victory over breast and throat cancer might prove her greatest triumph of all.
The 66-year-old was diagnosed with both conditions last year and admitted that it led to her cancelling plans to adopt a child with her wife and draw up a bucket list instead.
However, the private breast cancer treatment she underwent, as well as treatment for throat cancer, has proved so successful she is now cancer free.
Speaking on Talk TV to Piers Morgan, she explained that it was while undergoing tests for throat cancer that signs of breast cancer were identified. While the throat cancer was caught early and eminently treatable, she was advised the breast cancer was not so easy to fight.
Explaining her determination to fight, she said: “What was the alternative? Giving up? Giving in? Stopping? That’s just not an option for me … quitting is just not in my DNA.”
Now, after successful treatment, Navratilova said her “prognosis is excellent”, although she will make sure she gets all her check-ups.
It is not the first time the tennis legend has had to fight off breast cancer, having first been diagnosed with it in 2010. However, she has not been alone in her struggles; her long-time friend and rival Chris Evert has also achieved ‘cancer free’ status after fighting off stage 1 ovarian cancer.
Some may imagine that the battling qualities of an elite sports star might make all the difference, but for all Navratilova’s skills in winning 16 Grand Slam singles titles and 167 WTA tour titles, it is ultimately the quality of treatment that is available for breast and throat cancer that makes the difference. It is why Martina Navratilova can now celebrate the greatest victory of all.