Ryan made the announcement on Michael Ball’s Growing the Game with Ballsy podcast this past weekend.
“It’s a scare – when you get a call that you have some type of cancer, especially in my family,” Ryan said in the podcast. “My father passed away from cancer, my mother had thyroid cancer when she was younger.”
Ryan discovered a mark on his neck last year. He said doctors froze it off, but it grew back even bigger and was eventually identified as cancer.
“It’s one of those things you have to be so careful about. If I hadn’t gone to the dermatologist – it just looked like a little dry spot on my neck,” Ryan said. “I was supposed to have surgery last week to remove the spot, but the coronavirus had that cancelled.”
Ryan said he is fortunate in that it’s a slow moving cancer and the doctor is confident surgery can wait until the COVID-19 pandemic slows down
Ryan said his cancer developed in a spot on his neck near his cheek, below where his helmet sits.
“It’s an awkward area where your sweat is rolling down from the helmet and wipes out any sunscreen,” Ryan said. “Being outside two to three hours every afternoon and playing pro football – you’re out there in the peak of the sun.”
Ryan reminds people to be aware of the sun’s power and the effect it can have on someone’s skin.
“I want that to become a message for people and to be careful with your skin. Sometimes you can’t even do enough,” Ryan said. “You just have to keep getting it checked by the dermatologist and do your own body scans as much as possible.”
Regina born, Ryan spent 12 seasons playing in the NFL including 10 with the Seattle Seahawks, where he won a Super Bowl championship in 2014.
He joined the Riders in 2019 and is re-signed for 2020.