Former All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith has revealed that he was diagnosed with cancer last year.
Smith ended a highly-successful 20-year association with the All Blacks in October, but his diagnosis apparently played no part in his decision to step down.
However, Smith admitted that he kept the news largely to himself after an annual medical check-up saw the doctors pick up the presence of tumours.
‘I was getting the blood tests about every six months,’ he told Fairfax. ‘It was high PSA [prostate specific antigen] levels that initially alerted the doctor.
‘High levels don’t automatically mean you’ve got cancer, but it is an alert, and it led to me getting a digital exam, and he then thought: “Hmm … there’s a hard spot there.”
‘Could have been nothing, but he sent me to the urologist. Then I had an MRI test [magnetic imaging scans], which showed up some tumours.
‘Through the Rugby Championship I knew I had it, but I didn’t really talk to anyone. The only one was the team doctor, Tony Page, and I didn’t even tell him.’
Smith said he had successfully undergone surgery to remove the affected gland, and would be continuing his involvement in rugby with the Kobe Steelers club in Japan.
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