Sharon Laws has announced that she has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. The 42-year-old British rider broke the news in a statement released on Monday morning. Laws added that she would undergo chemotherapy for the next six months.
"At the end of July, following a standard check up with the team Doctor, I was advised to have a biopsy on some swollen lymph nodes in my neck. I assumed these were just due to a series of colds I seemed to have had continually during the season," she said in her statement.
"I was shocked to be told they contained secondary cancer tumours. Over the last 6 weeks I have had all the tests possible as the medics tried to find the primary tumour. Following a scan more infected lymph nodes were found in the pelvis and a further two biopsies confirmed I have cervical cancer. The extensive spread means I require chemotherapy. At this stage it is treatable but not curable. I started treatment on 7th October and it will last for 6 months.
"Obviously I am trying to come to terms with what is happening. Up until starting the chemotherapy I could still ride my bike and, apart from recovering from the operations I had recently, felt normal.”
Laws, who has competed in a number of disciplines and raced for Garmin Cervelo, Lotto, UnitedHealthcare, and Bigla during her long and successful career, raced for the Podium Ambition Pro Cycling team this season. Closing out her statement, she praised her family and the support around her.
"I am grateful to my family, my friends and teammates who have been incredibly supportive during this difficult time and especially to my Mum, whose life has also been turned upside down. I am also very thankful to Dr. Mark Ridgewell and the team’s sponsor, HMT, without them I probably would not have bothered even getting the lymph nodes checked.
"I had exciting retirement plans – learning Spanish and volunteer work in South America, bike guiding and environmental consultancy. These will now have to be put on hold. As a professional cyclist I’ve had my share of setbacks, in particular the horrific crash I had in 2013, which put me in hospital for 2 weeks with serious injuries.
"I have come back each time. I hope that these experiences and my life as a professional athlete have prepared me for what will be my biggest challenge so far."