Legendary basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently announced that he was diagnosed with cancer nearly a year ago. The father of five says he’s decided to come forward after hearing that other cancer patients aren’t following through with treatment plans.
Abdul-Jabbar disclosed that he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in December 2008 and that he knew immediately how serious his condition was.
“Having lost one of my closest friends to a different, highly aggressive form of leukemia, I knew how serious my diagnosis was,” said the 62 year old former NBA star. “My own life expectancy became a question mark.”
Abdul-Jabbar is being treated and is expected to live a full, active life. His concern is that other patients could have a similarly optimistic prognosis, but that many people skip doctor appointments or don’t take medication regularly.
“I’m telling my story to encourage fellow patients to take charge of their health,” he said. “Work closely with your doctor, monitor your disease and, above all, take your medicine.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is currently working as a coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.