Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman didn’t spend his All-Star break in the same relaxed state as many of his peers. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Freeman instead underwent a minor operation to have a cancerous mole removed from his upper back that was discovered during a routine exam.
Freeman was back in the Braves lineup on Friday when they hosted the Colorado Rockies, noting that he was completely cancer-free following the procedure. He was cleared to play by doctors, as the only after effects from his surgery were a handful of stitches that will be removed in two weeks.
“They said I couldn’t do anything for 48 hours,” Freeman said. “That’s why I wasn’t at the workout yesterday. “It’s not hurting. Hopefully I don’t get hit by a pitch or anything like that, but I feel fine.”
Freeman says he visited doctors “just in time,” as the mole was discovered and removed before it led to any serious complications. It turned out to be a minor event, but it was far from a minor scare given Freeman’s family history.
Freeman’s mother, Rosemary Freeman, died after being stricken with skin cancer in 2000. It’s noted that the mole removed from his back was similar to the one that cost his mother her life. Fortunately, Freeman has done his part to stay ahead of the disease, scheduling regular checkups to have his skin monitored for possible changes or growths.
“We have skin cancer people come (during the season), and doctors come and check it,” Freeman said. “They said the mole’s not circular. That’s when you have to go have a look, and mine was jagged.”
“It’s what I’m probably going to have to do a lot in my lifetime,” said Freeman. “I’d rather get them cut out, deal with the pain a couple of days, but other than that I feel fine.”
Freeman’s story is a reminder of how important it is to be aware of family history and any changes to the skin that could represent an issue. Time can be precious when it comes to identifying and treating skin cancer, so scheduling regular checkups like Freeman can be essential. If you or someone you know is in the same boat as Freeman, please follow his example to motivate yourself or someone you care about to get checked.
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