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Photo by: James Marvin Phelps | Flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0

Golf legend John Daly revealed he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

The 54-year-old underwent surgery to remove the cancer, but says there is a “an 85% chance it comes back.”

Roger Li, MD, genitourinary oncologist

Roger Li, MD, genitourinary oncologist

Dr. Roger Li, a genitourinary oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, says it is very common for both low-grade and high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer—which is found in the tissue that lines the inner surface of the bladder—to recur following bladder resection. As such, it is very important for patients with bladder cancer to continue surveillance with periodic cystoscopy procedures and urine tests to ensure early detection if the cancer were to return.

Daly says his recent diagnosis has convinced him to start leading a healthier lifestyle, which includes quitting smoking.

“I’m cutting way, way back on the Diet Coke and counting the minutes before I can have a cigarette,” said Daly. “I’m trying to quit smoking. The doctors aren’t saying it’s too late.”

Tobacco smoke, particularly cigarette smoking, is the most prominent cause for bladder cancer. “It increases the odds of developing bladder cancer by almost three-fold in both men and women,” said Li. “Reassuringly, it has also been shown that smoking cessation can reduce the risk of developing bladder cancers.”

Smokers who have stopped for one to three years are 2.6 times more likely to develop bladder cancer, while those who have stopped smoking for more than 15 years are 1.1 times more likely to develop the disease.

Daly won five times during his PGA tour career, including the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 Open. He says he is remaining positive after his diagnosis.

“Luckily for me, they caught it early… but it doesn’t look like it may go away,” he said. “We’ll just see what happens. Maybe there is a miracle.”

There will be about 81,400 cases of bladder cancer in the United States this year. Men are four times as likely to get the disease than women.