Berry, 25, who was placed on the non-football injury list last month, ending his season, recently underwent a battery of tests at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute.
"This is a diagnosis that is very treatable and potentially curable with standard chemotherapy approaches,” Dr. Christopher R. Flowers, director of the Emory Lymphoma Program said in a written statement. “The goal of Mr. Berry’s treatment is to cure his lymphoma and we are beginning that treatment now.”
The fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft and among the NFL’s best defensive players, Berry played in a Nov. 23 game at Oakland and complained afterward of chest discomfort. Doctors discovered a mass on the right side of his chest and preliminarily diagnosed it as lymphoma.
Chiefs players and coaches recently have worn T-shirts in support of him that read, “Be bold. Be brave. Be Berry.” T-shirts with that slogan are now on sale at the team’s pro shop at Arrowhead Stadium and online, with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“If you’re going to have cancer as a young individual, these are among the better cancers to have in terms of curability,” said Dr. Jack Jacoub, medical oncologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley. “It’s still tough. The chemotherapy has side effects. You could have numbness or tingling in the hands or feet. That could affect his athleticism. He could have issues. Doctors have to watch his heart because he’s getting a drug that can hurt people’s heart. And there’s potentially a drug that could also irreparably hurt his lungs.”
Jacoub, who is not treating Berry, spoke in general terms about Hodgkin’s lymphoma, saying: “There’s a lot of things he has to get through, but again the expectation is he’s going to get through it just fine and he’s going to be cured of it.”
Berry issued a statement Monday through the team:
“My family and I are very grateful for the amount of support we have received over the last couple of weeks. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate all the words of encouragement, the blessings and well wishes. I want to thank the Emory University School of Medicine, along with Dr. Flowers and his team, for all of their hard work and effort in diagnosing and creating a plan for me to battle this thing. I will embrace this process and attack it the same way I do everything else in life. God has more than prepared me for it. For everyone sharing similar struggles, I’m praying for you and keep fighting!”