April 28 (UPI) -- Baltimore Orioles star Trey Mancini revealed Tuesday he has stage 3 colon cancer and "probably" will miss the 2020 season if Major League Baseball returns.
Mancini revealed the diagnosis in an article titled "I Am So Lucky" for The Players' Tribune. The 28-year-old outfielder had successful surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon March 12 -- the same day MLB games were indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He started chemotherapy April 13.
The early stages (1 and 2) of colon cancer are confined to the colon and have not moved outside the colon wall to impact lymph nodes, or glands that help fight infections in the body's immune system.
Mancini had a port installed in his chest to help deliver medicine into his system for treatments. He said he drives himself to a Baltimore hospital for the treatments because guests aren't allowed to be with him due to the pandemic.
"I've just had to quickly accept this as my new reality," Mancini wrote. "And I have a new challenge ahead of me now: Rather than facing Gerrit Cole on Opening Day, I'm going to have to go through chemo.
"And chemo in the age of COVID-19 is crazy."
Mancini said he felt tired when he took swings this off-season. Team doctors revealed he had low iron levels. He then took another blood test, which revealed even lower iron levels.
Doctors in Sarasota, Fla., told Mancini he likely had celiac disease or a stomach ulcer, with colon cancer considered a "remote possibility." He went to the hospital for an endoscopy and colonoscopy and then learned he had cancer.
"Without the Orioles, I never would have caught this before it may have been too late," Mancini said. "There was really no indication that anything was wrong other than me just feeling a little more tired than normal. Everything that comes up when you Google colon cancer? I didn't have any of it.
"And so without that second blood test I probably would not have discovered the tumor until I had a total blockage of my colon. Instead, from the day I was diagnosed to when the tumor was removed was just six days -- March 6 to March 12."
Mancini hit .291 with a career-high 35 home runs and 97 RBIs in 154 games last season. His father, Tony, was also diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in 2011. He was 58 at the time.
Mancini told his teammates about his tumor in March. He said the organization has been very supportive. He has a text message chain with his teammates and also has spoken to Orioles legend Brooks Robinson. He said he plans to work out while doing chemotherapy and eventually return to play at a "major league level."
Mancini made his MLB debut with the Orioles in 2016. He has appeared in at least 147 games in each of his last three seasons.
"COVID-19 has spread so quickly. I'm definitely trying to follow all the protocols, not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because I don't want to expose myself to anything, especially before going into chemotherapy," Mancini wrote.
"My treatment will take six months -- every two weeks for six months. If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me."