Alan McLoughlin undergoing further treatment for cancer

Former Ireland player suffered fractured neck after tumour caused vertebrae to crumble

Alan McLoughlin celebrates after  scoring the goal against Northern Ireland which got the Republic of Ireland to the 1994 World Cup. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Alan McLoughlin celebrates after scoring the goal against Northern Ireland which got the Republic of Ireland to the 1994 World Cup. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Alan McLoughlin has revealed that he is about to undergo a course of radiotherapy and start a new programme of medication just weeks after neck surgery to address the latest in a series of issues caused by cancer.

The Manchester-born midfielder, who earned 42 caps for the Republic of Ireland and most famously scored the goal at Windsor Park that got Jack Charlton’s team to the 1994 World Cup, said that he wanted to clarify the position with regard to his health due to “some incorrect information being circulated”.

In a personal statement, McLoughlin, who has been working at Swindon Town as the club’s head of academy, says that he is suffering from renal cell carcinoma having originally been diagnosed with a kidney tumour back in 2012.

“That was removed,” he says, “and I then went on a drug trial, although they didn’t find enough evidence that the trial was successful. In November 2019, I was given more bad news; that the cancer had spread to my remaining kidney, into my chest wall and my lung. I underwent immunotherapy that unfortunately didn’t work, and I was in hospital several days due to side effects that affected my kidney.

“That did get resolved, and I started taking another drug, a once-a-day tablet called Cabozantinib. This had a positive effect, as all three tumours were shrinking. I went for a scan in January 2021, and things looked stable.

“Unfortunately, the scan didn’t go beyond my thorax, so it missed a tumour growing in my vertebrae. It was only when I began to feel a pinched nerve in my shoulder that I realised there was another issue. I ended up being rushed to hospital in Swindon with a fractured neck, as the tumour had caused my vertebrae to crumble.

“Three weeks ago, I had an operation in John Radcliffe Hospital to try and take out as much of the tumour as possible, and to build a cage to support my neck.

“That was successful and I am currently back home, about to go on radiotherapy treatment for my neck as well as a new programme of medication. So I hope that goes well.”

The FAI was among the organisations and individuals to send the 53-year-old its best wishes via social media on Thursday. McLoughlin said he would speak publically again at some point but requested that his privacy be respected in the meantime.

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