India’s fastest woman runner Dutee Chand experienced the shock of her life when she was told by a doctor in November 2021 that level 1 cancer has attacked her body and she must quit the sport.
That was after she failed to go past the preliminary round in the Tokyo Olympics women’s 100m and 200m races.
Sports Medicine expert Dr Sudeep Satpathy, a professor at the Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Bhubaneswar, diagnosed the onset of level 1 cancer in Dutee’s body.
“I felt very scary, nervous, thinking what has happened to my life,” Dutee told PTI from Bhubaneswar, recollecting the conversation she had with the doctor her after the MRI report.
Doctor Satpathy was attached with the Indian hockey team at one point of time.
Sharing her ordeal, Dutee said her problems began with a groin injury in 2021. “While competing in the National Inter-State Championships before the Tokyo Olympics (2021), I felt a lot of pain in the groin area. I consulted some doctors but the pain did not go. I went to Olympics (July-August, 2021) and could not do well there,” she said.
“After returning from the Olympics, the pain kept increasing. I did an ultrasound in November 2021. Nothing came in the ultrasound.
“Then I got an MRI scan done and the doctor (Sudeep Satpathy) told me that a level 1 cancer attack has begun. He said I have to quit sport otherwise it will get worse.”
Asked what could have been affected by cancer, Dutee said she can think of only the groin area. “I am having testosterone hormone imbalance, so it could be from there. The groin pain was increasing slowly. Everybody was saying it’s groin pain but the doctor said a cancer attack can happen if it (the pain) continues.”
In 2015, Dutee won a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the world athletics governing body’s policy on hyperandrogenism, or high natural levels of testosterone in women.
She was earlier left out of the the 2014 Commonwealth Games Indian contingent at the last minute on the ground that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete.
Dutee, who has been handed a four-year ban for failing a dope test, is also the first Indian athlete to come out in the open to having same-sex relationship in 2019.
Asked specifically if she underwent some more tests for reconfirmation and the latest status, Dutee said, “After taking medicines, the pain has subsided, and there was recovery. I did not do any other medical test because I was feeling all right, not much of pain. Then, I gave this sample to NADA and it came to a dope-positive result. That is the story,” said the 27-year-old sprinter who won 100m and 200m silver medals in the 2018 Asian Games.
She said she took the medicine for the groin pain for just 15-20 days. She stopped it as the pain had reduced.
“I spoke to my doctor who advised me to take rest otherwise it will keep on increasing and will become a serious problem. So I stopped (training) a bit and took the medicine for 15 to 20 days.
“I could not do much at the Commonwealth Games because of the pain. This is something like if you exert more, the pain get worse.”
Surprisingly, Dutee has not done anymore tests after the November 2021 MRI.
“After this dope positive result (in January this year), I am not in a position to do medical tests (for the cancer diagnosis). I am in a harassed state of mind.
“I sent the (medical) report to an expert also who told me it has happened to two-three other athletes as well.””
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