COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Eight months after receiving a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, former Texas A&M football coach R.C. Slocum announced he was cancer-free this January. Were it not for preventative care; however, Slocum said his outcome could have been much different.
“I had a little bit of just a mild cough," Slocum said, reflecting back to June of 2021. "... So my wife said, as wives tend to do, ‘what about that cough? What’s that?’ And I said, ‘eh, I don’t know...probably allergies.”
Now, looking back and learning that his cough was related to cancer, Slocum said he is determined to make sure his community learns just how important it was that he caught this disease early. In partnership with Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, which handled his cancer treatment, Slocum shared his call to action with local media at a press conference Wednesday.
“If you’re not careful and you don’t pay attention to the most important thing, which is your health...all those people who are dependent upon you," he said. "Now all of a sudden, you’re getting to age 50, 60, and all of a sudden, you’ve not taken care of yourself for all of these years."
The coach's oncologist, Dr. Judi Yeh, pointed out the trend in many people who are hesitant to get regular cancer screenings, concerned about convenience or discomfort. The pandemic has only made patients less likely to seek wellness checks.
“Delaying health care services can always be more challenging or have more hardships for patients and their families in the long run," Yeh said. "I personally am guilty of it, and I’ve seen patients delay their healthcare because they’ve gotten too busy, or they’re in denial of it.”
Slocum shared that after his diagnosis last year, he underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy. Though it was frightening, he is glad that he took the steps he needed to take care of his body. Slocum noted that even while coaching, he wouldn’t let his players sacrifice their well-being for the short-term goal of winning a game.
“Really, what else do you have that’s more important than taking care of your health?" he said. "Because all those dependent on you – your family, your kids, just your loved ones and your friends – what do you have that’s more important than taking care of your health?”