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Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Thursday, 4 May 2006 10:40 UK

Sale centre Todd battling cancer

Sale centre Robert Todd in action against Leicester recently
Todd last played for Sale against Saracens on 10 March

Sale centre Robert Todd is battling skin cancer and will play no further part in their Premiership title bid.

The Auckland-born player, 35, split an old scar in his arm 18 months ago and a growth developed in the scar tissue, diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma.

Todd, who has started 13 games this season but missed the last five, lost a large amount of muscle tissue after surgery to remove the malignant growth.

He faces an anxious wait to see if the cancer, which can be fatal, has spread.

Todd will have further tests on nodules discovered in his lymph glands and lungs, and is undergoing intensive physiotherapy in a bid to regain full use of his arm.

The future is uncertain but I know I can beat this
Robert Todd

The former London Irish and Gloucester player joined Sale two years ago and his current contract expires at the end of the season.

He will miss the rest of their campaign, with the Sharks having secured top spot in the Premiership regular season and awaiting a home semi-final play-off on 14 May.

"The support from the players around the club has been great," Todd said. "I am humbled by the calls and texts I have received from other players, partners and supporters.

"Philippe (Saint-Andre, Sale's director of rugby) and the boys have been great and I am looking forward to supporting them from the stands, hopefully to the final at Twickenham."

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer and is most common on areas of the body exposed to the sun.

Although SCCs usually remain confined to the epidermis for some time, they can penetrate the underlying tissues if not treated and in a small percentage of cases, spread to distant tissues and organs and become fatal.

Despite the diagnosis, Todd is trying to remain positive.

"The future is uncertain but nothing in comparison to what my friend Jarrod Cunningham (the former London Irish player diagnosed with motor neurone disease) has overcome and he is always a great inspiration to me," Todd added.

"This is just a curve ball that God sometimes throws at you. Luckily I have good skills when it comes to balls. I know I can beat this."

see also
Skin cancers
10 Jul 09 |  Health
Double signing for Sharks
22 Apr 04 |  English

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