Alabama announces AD Bill Battle will take a medical leave of absence
Alabama athletic director Bill Battle will take a leave of absence as he deals with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, the school announced Tuesday.
Battle is in Stage 1 of the illness, and as described in an Alabama release, the condition was discovered in March 2014 during a regularly scheduled physical. Battle will undergo a stem cell transplant. His condition isn’t considered to be life-threatening.
Currently, the cancer is in partial remission. Here are more details from the release:
Battle’s illness was originally detected in March of 2014 during a regularly scheduled executive physical at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Health and Wellness Center in Birmingham. At that time, a radiologist discovered a small tumor (plasmacytoma) on a spinal vertebra.
In May of 2014, Battle received radiation therapy at The University of Alabama at Birmingham for the plasmacytoma and his condition was monitored for the next year by UAB’s Medical Oncology Department. In May of 2015, a diagnosis of early stage one multiple myeloma was made at UAB. In June of that year, Battle received a consultation at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, under the supervision of Dr. Robert Orlowski. Dr. Orlowski recommended that he begin a chemotherapy regimen and, at some point a stem cell transplant using his own stem cells. Dr. Lonial later supported Dr. Orlowski’s diagnosis that a stem cell transplant would be the appropriate treatment.
Battle began the first of three courses of chemotherapy at Manderson Cancer Center in Tuscaloosa under the care of Dr. David Hinton in August of 2015.
“Coach Battle has done very well with his treatment,” Hinton said in the release. “He is in great physical shape, has responded very well to all of his treatment so far, and we expect an excellent response from this stage of treatment as well. The purpose of this procedure is to prolong his remission. He has been very active, exercising, staying in great shape, and he will to be able to continue that lifestyle after completing this phase of treatment.”
Battle elaborated on his background with the illness in the Alabama release:
“In the spring of 2014, I was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer,” Battle said. “Subsequent to that diagnosis my wife, Mary, and I visited with doctors at The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; the Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa; and the Winship Cancer Institute to determine the best treatment options.I am very comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plan. I am looking forward to getting this behind me and continuing my active lifestyle, as well as continuing to lead our Athletics Department. My experience has made it clear to me that cancer can be a treatable disease that can be dealt with while maintaining a high quality of life.”