Martina Navratilova announces she's cancer-free four months after diagnosis
Four months after her initial diagnosis and two months after she publicly announced it, Martina Navratilova is cancer-free.
The 66-year-old tennis legend told Piers Morgan during a TalkTV interview (set to air Tuesday night) that she's pretty much done with treatment for breast and throat cancer, and her doctors have given her the green light.
"As far as they know I'm cancer-free," Navratilova told Piers Morgan for TalkTV via ESPN. "I still need to do the right breast probably with radiation but only for a couple of weeks and that's more preventative than anything else."
Navratilova was first diagnosed in Nov. 2022 after noticing an enlarged lymph node in her neck, and shared her diagnosis with the public in Jan. 2023. She and her wife, Julia Lemigova, were planning to adopt a child, but put those plans on hold after receiving the cancer diagnosis.
Navratilova, who won 18 majors and been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, described how anxious she felt following her diagnosis.
“I was in a total panic for three days thinking I may not see next Christmas,” she said via the Washington Post. “The bucket list came into my mind of all the things I wanted to do. And this may sound really shallow, but I was like, ‘Okay, which kick-ass car do I really want to drive if I live like a year?’”
Even more difficult for Navratilova was the treatment. Because of the placement of her cancer, she would need to have three weekly rounds of chemotherapy plus three weeks of daily radiation treatment. She called that "the hardest thing I've ever done."
“That was the hard part because the first week was both chemo and radiation at the same time,” she said. “When you start feeling lousy, you’re not sure if it’s from the chemo or the proton. I didn’t really feel the proton until week three, but then you get a sore mouth and your throat starts closing.
“Everything’s swollen and very uncomfortable, and the proton makes your saliva weird. You don’t really taste things the right way. Chemo does the same thing to your throat, but then it makes it dry. So you’re just hit from all ends, and I don’t think the doctors do a very good job of telling you how the s*** is going to hit the fan.”
Navratilova, who also had breast cancer 13 years ago, said she reached out to her former rival Chris Evert for support. Evert announced in January that she was cancer-free following an ovarian cancer diagnosis. She sent Navratilova the song "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers, which includes a lyric that's now very poignant between the two of them: “I just might have a problem that you’ll understand.”