Tathiana Garbin opens up what led to cancer diagnosis, two tumor removal surgeries

In November, Italian BJK Cup team captain Garbin announced she was diagnosed with cancer.

by Dzevad Mesic
Tathiana Garbin opens up what led to cancer diagnosis, two tumor removal surgeries
© Getty Images Sport - Fran Santiago

Italian Billie Jean King Cup team captain Tathiana Garbin reveals she started experiencing stomach pain during the US Open and it turned out to be cancer once she paid a visit to the doctor in Italy. In November, Italy made the final at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville. After Italy concluded its great run in Seville, former world No. 22 Garbin announced she was battling a rare type of cancer and that she already had one surgery to remove the tumor. 

"In New York I had a stomach ache but I didn't worry too much: once in Italy the tests led to the diagnosis," Garbin told Corriere della Sera.

After undergoing her second surgery for Pseudomyxoma peritonei (a tumor that affects one in a million people) in late November, Garbin announced on December 11th that she was hospitalized due to certain complications related to the surgery.

"Better (now). The Cisanello Hospital in Pisa, where I was operated on both times, discharged me just before Christmas, the real gift. There were very difficult weeks, a journey full of pain but it can happen: once the peritoneum has been removed, adhesions at the intestinal level can obstruct the intestine. I solved it without the need for a third operation, I consider myself lucky," Garbin explained.

Garbin on deciding to publicly announce her diagnosis 

In Seville, Garbin wanted all the focus to be on tennis and her team. After the tournament was over, Garbin figured out she could help someone battling a similar issue by sharing her experience. 

"I thought about it so much, the disease is often lived with shame and in Seville, during the Billie Jean King Cup, I didn't say anything because all the light had to be on the girls. After the tournament, I convinced myself that I could make a contribution to people in need... So many people have written to me. Communicating the disease also means getting help: reaching out is a great act of courage," Garbin explained.