The Cricket World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh, who guided Indian cricket team to lift the coveted Golden Cup last year with his stellar role, has been diagnosed with a malignant lung tumour and is undergoing a treatment in US.

"Mediastinal seminoma", a germ-cell tumour located between his lungs – has come as a major setback for the Indian batsman.

Yuvraj has played 37 Tests, scoring 1,775 runs at an average of 34.80. He has 8,051 runs at an average of 37.62 from his 274-match ODI career. In 23 Twenty20s, Yuvraj has scored 567 runs at 31.50.

However, the 30-year-old devastating batsman, known for his blitzkrieg on the cricket battle ground, can seek inspiration from a host of athletes who have battled cancer to return to the sports arena, and have achieved historic landmarks in their field.

Here, we take a look at the feat of famous athletes who battled against the severe melanoma to make stirring comebacks to their respective sports.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Edward Armstrong, an American former professional road racing cyclist who won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times.

The most famous cancer recovery story in sports, Armstrong is an inspiration for athletes around the world for his determination to battle the odds. At the age of 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was not a small tumour; he had metastasized cancer that had spread from his testicle to his lungs and into his brain.

The cancer required immediate surgery, which resulted into the removal of several brain tumours and a testicle, as well as immediate chemotherapy.

He went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, and is the only person to win seven times having broken the previous record of five wins shared by Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, and Jacques Anquetil.

When he first began with treatment in 1996, he was told that his chance for survival was only 40 percent. He did much more than survive; he won an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France medals and, perhaps more importantly, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help fight cancer. Against all the odds, he survived and persevered.

The inspiration for the all the athletes Armstrong is also the founder and chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and support.

Mario Lemieux

Regarded as one of the most naturally talented ice hockey players, Lemieux was diagnosed with “Hodgkins Lymphoma” at the height of his powers in 1993. His fabled feats on ice aside, his most remarkable feat is overcoming Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes that had taken the life of one of his cousins, and a debilitating back injury.

Remarkably, Lemieux returned to the sport after radiation treatment and on October 26, 1995, scored his 500th career goal playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins in his 650thgame, becoming the second-fastest player to reach the landmark.

When asked about which was a tougher task for him in Hockey battling back from Hodgkin's disease or coming back to action after a three-and-a-half year layoff, Lemieux said: "I think the one coming back from the radiation treatments was probably the most successful, I would think because of the fact that I didn't train for six weeks and just went to the hospital every day and I had radiation treatments and my strength also got depleted. To be able to come back, I think I averaged close to three points or over three points in the last few games to catch Pat LaFontaine was probably the best of all the comebacks."

Dave Callaghan

The former South African cricketer was diagnosed with testicular cancer in September 1991. He received treatment and returned to full health to receive his maiden call-up to the national squad a year later. The defining moment of his international career was a tremendous all-round performance against New Zealand at Centurion during the Mandela Trophy in 1994, in what was Callaghan's first innings after recovering from cancer. Opening the batting, he hit an unbeaten 169 off 143 balls and took a career-best 3 for 32 to help South Africa to victory, and with it the Man-of-the-Match award.

In later years, while using his celebrity status to promote cancer awareness, Callaghan credited a positive, attacking approach in helping both his healing process and his cricketing career. "In my first game back for Eastern Province at St George's, I made 60-odd against (then) Transvaal. To this day it sticks out as one of the highlights of my career and I still get gooseflesh thinking about it."

Mike Lowell

A year after he made his Major League Baseball debut for the New York Yankees, third baseman Mike Lowell was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 24. Lowell's cancer was first detected on February 19, 1999 but by May 29 he was in the Florida Marlins' line-up after missing all of spring training and nearly two months of the MLB season.

Lowell underwent surgery Feb. 21 and had his testicles removed. He then went through three weeks of radiation treatment that he said, "knocked him out." In three days, Lowell lost about 10 pounds but slowly regained the weight and as his body learned to deal with the radiation, he returned to the minor leagues. After just four games, the Marlins recalled him on April 13. In the 12 years since Lowell defeated cancer, he has won three World Series titles and been named to the All-Star team four times.

Eric Abidal

In March of 2011, French footballer Eric Abidal was told that he had a tumour on his liver that required immediate surgery. Two months later, he was back with his club Barcelona team-mates and played the entire duration of Barcelona's 3-1 defeat of Manchester United in the Champions League final.

In a moving gesture to mark his recovery, Abidal's team-mates gave him the captain's armband as well as allowing him to be the first in the team to raise the trophy in front of 85,000 people at Wembley Stadium.

"Every time I heard those applause,” said Abidal, "I realised that I had so many people behind me and that gave me so much strength to return."

Edna Campbell

Edna Campbell is a retired women’s basketball player who is best known for continuing to play in the WNBA despite suffering from breast cancer. The 5'8" guard was diagnosed with breast cancer during her fourth season as a professional, but went on to defeat the cancer and return to play for several more years. In 2006, her return to basketball was voted as the "most inspirational moment" in WNBA history. Campbell became and inspiring symbol to many cancer survivors.

Eric Davis

All-star baseball player Eric Davis was diagnosed with colon cancer during the 1997 season, and his bold admittance to return the same season proved inspirational. He underwent surgery the very next day, and went on to receive chemotherapy around his workouts and games.

He also cut down his consumption of alcohol and fatty and fried foods. In September 1997, Davis returned to the field during the play-offs and surprised everyone with his determination and physical prowess despite receiving chemotherapy. Afterward, he became the first player ever to hit more than 30 home runs and steal fifty bases in a single season. Throughout his career, Davis won almost every major award in baseball.

Josh Bidwell

Former Washington Redskins punter Josh Bidwell was in his rookie season when he when he first noticed an irregularity with his testicles. Doctors told him the cancer had spread beyond his testicles, and Bidwell was put on chemotherapy after having had emergency surgery. After chemotherapy sessions, Bidwell lost 50 pounds and was barely able to walk. But, remarkably, he made a famous return to the football field after six months of rehab. His best year came in 2005 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when he was named for the Pro Bowl.


Amit Kumar