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Dave Joerger stepping away from 76ers to undergo cancer treatment

Dave Joerger on the sidelines

Early detection. Those two words have a whole lot of meaning for Dave Joerger.

The Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach is taking a leave of absence from his team to undergo treatment for cancer.

Joerger announced that he has a treatable form of head/neck cancer. Here is the statement he released on Saturday:

Joerger has been undergoing treatment for the last two weeks. He made the announcement public because he will not be able to join the Sixers on their road trip due to his necessary treatment.

Joerger also went public because he wants to emphasize the importance of early detection. Joerger noticed a lump in his throat around 15 months ago. The scan initially didn’t produce anything. But when the lump did not go away, Joerger decided to get checked out again. That’s when the cancer was detected.

“We have caught it early,” Joerger told ESPN. “I’m very lucky. I’ve got over a 90 percent chance of cure rate, but it’s very scary and it’s not enjoyable going through. …I can’t go on the road and do radiation and chemotherapy in different cities around the country. To continue my treatment, I need to step away from the team.”

The 47-year-old is described as having Stage 1 cancer. Detecting it early has given him what doctors believe is a high chance of beating it.

Joerger is in his second season with the Sixers. He has previously served as a head coach for both the Grizzlies and Kings.

Photo: Jan 22, 2019; Toronto, Ontario,CAN; Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger reacts during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

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