‘Happy to be back’ – Cameron Suafoa’s remarkable recovery from cancer

Being back to a full bill of health is exactly where Cameron Suafoa wants to be, worrying about not letting his team down rather than the serious news he received last year.

The 26-year-old was diagnosed with high-grade sarcoma, a form of cancer in his connective tissue, last November and underwent six weeks of radiation treatment after an operation removed a malignant tumour in his back.

“I was just happy to be back, playing the team again. Going through my head was: don’t want to miss a tackle or, you know, make a mistake.”

Suafoa admitted the diagnosis was “scary at the time”.

“I didn’t really know how to deal with it, it was just sort of sudden. Definitely a shock.”

He found support from his teammates and the Blues organisation.

“The boys have been sending messages, come visiting me. Medical staff have been in contact most days and check[ing] in. I think it wasn’t difficult to tell, it is sort of difficult to explain what’s going on because while I was going through, I didn’t really know what’s happening either.”

Probably the most remarkable thing was that it was not as though Suafoa put the handbrake on his Blues career while this was going on.

Far from it. He played in round three and four of Super Rugby Pacific during his radiation treatment, before stepping aside.

He returned to action last Friday in Melbourne, coming off the bench in the Blues’ 38-11 win over the Rebels.

Suafoa revealed that family experience had helped him through the cancer treatment.

“I guess the people, my family, everyone goes through that hardship sort of stuff like that in my childhood, some hardships in our family. Just from that experience.”

He described his return to action as tough, even though the game ended up as a comfortable win, the pace certainly took its toll.

“It’s a bit of a shock to the body. You forget how fast rugby can be. Other than that, (I’ve got a) full bill of health.”

Suafoa’s partner Britt Hastings-Kutty had been a constant source of support, and he was eager to pay tribute to her.

“She was just wanting to be there for me as a person rather than a rugby player. That person in your life or in your corner that can, sort of bring you down, bring you back down, or, you know, give you some sort of reality check. She just reminded me that it’s okay to be not okay in that situation and then have to go sort of superhero and try to push through.”

The Blues play the Hurricanes on Saturday in a top of the table clash at Eden Park. The first placed Hurricanes are the only team to have inflicted a defeat on the Blues this season, a 29-21 win in Wellington back in round three.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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