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Linda Caicedo talks cancer battle and return to the pitch on NBC podcast

Colombian forward Linda Caicedo is making history as the first player to represent her country in a U-17, U-20 and FIFA Women’s World Cup in the same calendar year. However, just a few years ago, she faced an even more intimidating challenge when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at just 15 years old.

Caicedo discussed the battle, and her journey back to the pitch, with hosts Meghan Klingenberg and Eric Alvarez on the NBC and Telemundo podcast My New Favorite Futbolista. Her interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English.

“The truth is, I was very young and maybe I didn’t quite understand what was happening to me,” Caicedo said. “My parents were the ones who received the information because I was very young. It was very complicated.”

Her mother, Herlinda Alegria, was also interviewed for the podcast. She recalled the difficult trips to the hospital where Caicedo was treated for the tumor. Ovarian cancer, as Alvarez points out, has an average age of 60 at diagnosis, making Caceido’s case quite unusual. Alegria’s interview was also translated into English.

“Every time we would take Linda to the hospital, she would cry and she would ask the doctors to please tell her the truth,” Alegria said. “That’s all she wanted to know. Would she be cured and would she be able to play again?”

Coincidentally, with the timing of her diagnosis in early 2020, the soccer world was also on hold for the Coronavirus pandemic. Her mother said this made her battle a little easier as she was not missing out on competition during treatment. She underwent surgery in March and started a six-month chemotherapy treatment.

That September, Caicedo was declared cancer-free.

“I feel that it helps you grow, for better or for worse,” Caicedo said. “I could say that I thank God that this happened to me and I knew how to value my loved ones a little more in my life. It was a bad experience and then it turned into something positive.”

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