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Ireland legend Alan McLoughlin reveals he is suffering from cancer

McLoughlin says he is recuperating at home from surgery, and will soon undergo radiotherapy treatment.

Alan McLoughlin, pictured celebrating his famous goal against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in 1993.
Alan McLoughlin, pictured celebrating his famous goal against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in 1993.
Image: EMPICS Sport

FORMER REPUBLIC OF Ireland international Alan McLoughlin has revealed he is suffering from cancer. 

McLoughlin announced the news in a statement this morning, issued to clarify inaccurate information about his health.

He was first diagnosed with a kidney tumour in 2012, which was successfully removed, but seven years later, McLaughlin was told the cancer had returned and had spread to his chest, lungs, and remaining kidney. He then underwent immunotherapy that was unsuccessful, though a subsequent daily drug treatment did succeed in shrinking these tumours. 

This year, however, another tumour was discovered on his vertebrae. This tumour caused his vertebrae to break, and he was rushed to hospital with a fractured neck. Three weeks ago, McLoughlin underwent successful surgery at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to remove some of the tumour and build a support for his neck. He is now recuperating at home, and will soon undergo radiotherapy treatment for his neck along with beginning a new round of medication. 

McLoughlin made 42 international appearances for Ireland, and is most fondly remembered for scoring the goal at Windsor Park that secured Ireland’s place at the 1994 World Cup. 

You can read his full statement below. 

Statement from Alan McLoughlin and his family 

In light of questions about my situation, and some incorrect information being circulated, I felt it necessary to clarify some of my circumstances. I am currently living with renal cell carcinoma. 

It is probably best to briefly explain the sequence of events. I was first diagnosed with a kidney tumour in September 2012, as was publicised at the time. That was removed, and I then went on a drug trial, although they didn’t find enough evidence that the trial was successful.

In November 2019, I was given more bad news, that the cancer had spread to my remaining kidney, into my chest wall and my lung. I underwent immunotherapy that unfortunately didn’t work, and I was in hospital several days due to side effects that affected my kidney.

That did get resolved, and I started taking another drug, a once-a-day tablet called Cabozantinib.

This had a positive effect, as all three tumours were shrinking. I went for a scan in January 2021, and things looked stable.

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Unfortunately, the scan didn’t go beyond my thorax, so it missed a tumour growing in my vertebrae. It was only when I began to feel a pinched nerve in my shoulder that I realised there was another issue. I ended up being rushed to hospital in Swindon with a fractured neck, as the tumour had caused my vertebrae to crumble. Three weeks ago, I had an operation in John Radcliffe Hospital to try and take out as much of the tumour as possible, and to build a cage to support my neck.

That was successful and I am currently back home, about to go on radiotherapy treatment for my neck as well as a new programme of medication. So I hope that goes well.

Thanks for your time, as I just wanted to clarify my circumstances. I would appreciate if my privacy could be respected in the meantime, but I will be available to speak again in due course.

- Originally published at 09.20

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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