Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder is currently undergoing treatment for throat cancer, according to a statement released by the Kansas State Athletic Department.
Synder is quoted saying the following in the statement:
“I feel bad having to release this information about my health in this manner prior to sharing it in person with so many personal friends, distant family, players and their families, past and present, and many of the Kansas State football family so close to our program,” Snyder said. “But, with so much talk presently out there, I certainly owe it to everyone to make them aware of my condition.
"I have been diagnosed with throat cancer and have been receiving outpatient treatment at the KU Medical Center for about three weeks and am getting along very well. The doctors and staffs at both KU Med and M.D. Anderson (in Houston, Texas) have been great; working so very well together to finalize the overall treatment plan which is being conducted in Kansas City. Both ‘teams’ have projected a positive outcome and have worked out a schedule that allows me to be in Kansas City for my regular treatments and still be back in the office on a regular basis through the first week of March. Sean, along with our coaching and support staffs, remain highly productive in carrying out their responsibilities keeping us on track."
According to his doctors, Snyder’s treatment for throat cancer will not prevent him from coaching and the prognosis is good.
He has coached at K-State for 25 years. When the university hired him in 1988, the team was in the midst of a 27-game losing streak.
Snyder left K-State in 2005, but returned to the sidelines in Manhattan in 2009.
During a 9-4 year in 2016, Snyder passed the 200 win total for his career.
Dr. Kiran Kakalara with the University of Kansas Medical Center, a national Cancer Institute designated center, said about 50,000 people are diagnosed with throat cancer per year.
Compared to breast cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, it’s pretty uncommon.
“It's only about 3 percent of overall cancers that we'll diagnose into the U.S. this year,” Dr. Kakalara said.
He said throat cancer is one that can be cured, but it does take time.
“A usual course of radiation and chemotherapy would be about six to seven weeks of treatment, five days a week, so Monday through Friday,” he said. “A big time effort, but it's not like you're in the hospital the whole time. I mean you come back and forth for your treatments.”
He said one common misconception about the cancer is that it’s only caused by smoking.
“That still remains true but nowadays, this Human papillomavirus (HPV) which you might’ve heard about, is causing a large proportion of head and neck cancers,” Dr. Kakalara said.
The CDC now recommends children starting at age 12 get an HPV vaccination. Doctors say this could help prevent head and neck cancers.