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One of the things the Patriots organization is known for is its ability to be tight lipped. What happens in house stays in house. They give only the minimum amount of information required when it comes to injuries, usually being very vague as to the area of the body injured. But they wouldn't be able to keep a key player's cancer under wraps for a whole year would they?

Starting Left Tackle Nate Solder revealed this morning that he was diagnosed with Testicular cancer in April of 2014.

ESPN

Solder was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 2014, which was a shocking revelation to him because he felt healthy and there was no history of it in his family.

Doctors determined the cancer was restricted to one testicle and hadn't spread. They removed the testicle, and Solder went on to experience one of the most rewarding football seasons of his life. He started every game and served as quarterback Tom Brady's blindside protector in a season that culminated with a Super Bowl XLIX title.

I knew nothing about it. It was a complete surprise," said Solder, who turned 27 on April 12 and enters his fifth NFL season in 2015. "You Google something like that and it kind of scares you, so I was like, 'I'm not going to freak out about this.' Had I not had a routine physical, I probably wouldn't have checked it, saying, 'Oh, it's just in my head, I'm going to be fine.

Solder considers himself lucky, as he should. With any type of cancer its very key that you catch it early. The timing of the team's opening physical couldn't have been any better.

The Patriots had just started their voluntary offseason program at this time last year and Solder was undergoing a standard physical exam when he mentioned he felt something around his testicle. That led the Patriots' medical staff to immediately order an ultrasound.

Things moved quickly, and three days later, Solder underwent surgery. He had to rest for two weeks, missing some time in voluntary organized team activities. That was the main part of the recovery, and after that, doctors focused on his incision and sutures so that they wouldn't be compromised during workouts. Solder returned to the field by the end of organized team activities in June.

All along, doctors reminded Solder there was no rush, with Solder describing their approach as "super cautious."

What Solder realized was that he was fortunate to have detected things early, and others aren't always so lucky. That's why he's stepping into the public eye with his story, although he wanted to make one thing clear in doing so.

Obviously this is a very personal situation for Solder, hence the team keeping this under lock and key so he could deal with it in private. Solder has decided to share his experience to help raise awareness. The timing is perfect since April is National Testicular Cancer Awareness month.

Solder was able to overcome his cancer to have a really productive season. Starting every game this season including the Super Bowl. He even caught a touchdown pass in the AFC Championship game.

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Thome 4/21/2015 10:42:00 AM Edit
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