TORONTO (AFP) — Toronto Maple Leafs newest left wing Jason Blake disclosed Monday that he is battling a rare form of leukemia.
Blake said he has been diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia but he expects to continue to play in the National Hockey League while seeking treatment.
He also disclosed that he already has begun taking a pill that has proven to be very effective at controlling the cancer.
"The prognosis, and certainly the expectations of my physician, myself and my family, is that I will live a long, full normal life," the American said. "This situation will not impact my ability to live my life as I otherwise would, and will not affect my ability to perform at my highest level for the Toronto Maple Leafs."
Team doctor Noah Foreman said the disease is a form of leukemia which is a slow growing cancer of white blood cells. It has an incidence of 500 new cases diagnosed each year in Canada.
"Jason is in no immediate danger, as he is in the chronic phase of the disease and has been assessed by a leading authority on CML at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto," the team said in a statement.
Blake is not expected to miss any time and will be monitored by team doctors and his CML specialist.
In 2000-01 while he was with the New York Islanders, Blake missed the final 13 games to be with his is pregnant wife, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
On the first day of free agency in July, Blake signed a five-year, 20 million dollar contract with the Leafs.
The Moorhead, Minnesota native has 134 tallies and 154 assists in parts of nine campaigns with the Islanders, the Los Angeles Kings and Leafs. He has two assists in three games this season.
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