By Matt Boone | June 02, 2009
Survivor's Ethan Zohn Has Cancer
By Mark Dagostino
Ethan Zohn, the curly-haired soccer player who battled the elements and outwitted opponents to win Survivor: Africa, is facing his toughest adversary yet: cancer.
On April 30, Zohn was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's disease. The diagnosis came after months of unexplained itching and night sweats, originally thought to be a skin condition. Doctors discovered a swollen lymph node under his left clavicle, and a CT scan revealed a mass on the left side of his chest. Then, just last week, Zohn learned he is suffering from a rare form the disease called CD20-positive Hodgkin's Lymphoma, for which he began chemotherapy last Friday.
"This is the ultimate game of Survivor," Zohn, 35, tells PEOPLE exclusively, "and there's really only one outcome, and that's to win. There's no other option."
Hodgkin's disease is a cancer of the body's lymphatic system with survival rates reaching as high as 90 percent. Zohn was told that the CD20 diagnosis, which affects around five percent of all Hodgkin's patients, has a similar cure rate, but is treated with an altered, more aggressive, three-month chemotherapy regimen. "They're going right after this," he says.
The chemo is expected to knock the always active and otherwise fit Zohn mostly out of commission for a few months, with nausea and weakness among its side effects. And he's expected to lose his famous mop of hair within two weeks.
Zohn's longtime girlfriend, Survivor: The Amazon winner Jenna Morasca, 27, is vowing to be at his side throughout the process. "I will fight with every fabric of my being to get him through this," Morasca tells PEOPLE.
Check out the complete article at People.com.
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