DALLAS — In an Instagram post this week, former Dallas Cowboys player Michael Irvin explained he’s facing a serious health scare. Irvin, 53, underwent tests to determine whether he has throat cancer.
Irvin is being transparent about his fears. He shared that he decided to see specialists after losing his voice and dealing with that ongoing issue for two months.
"These are usually cancers of the larynx, which is this part of your body right here,” said Dr. Jared Sturgeon, a Radiation Oncologist at Texas Center for Proton Therapy.
Sturgeon isn’t treating Irvin, but he specializes in a variety of cancers, including those in the head and neck.
"The hoarseness he experienced is actually one of the most common symptoms," Sturgeon said. "Another one is just a general sore throat that doesn't go away for a long time. Some patients will have problems swallowing. Others may have problems breathing."
Sturgeon said throat cancers are commonly treatable through a variety of techniques. He stressed that early detection is key.
"The biggest risk factors for these throat cancers are heavy drinking and smoking,” Sturgeon said. “So, quit those."
On social media, Irvin called throat cancer a demon that has chased his spirit all his life. His father had the disease and lost his life at age 51.
Supporters have been showering the Irvin with messages of encouragement as he waits to learn his diagnosis.
Emmitt Smith wrote, "We will continue to pray for you and your family my brother."
Troy Aikman also chimed in: "Lots of love and support for you Irv."
Former Dallas Cowboys player Tony Casillas left a message for Irvin: “Brother Michael your passion and strength will guide you through a time of the unknown."