Washington Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams revealed this week that he was diagnosed with a rare cancer during the offseason. What’s more, he said he hasn’t played a game with the Redskins this year because he now distrusts the team’s medical staff after they allegedly misdiagnosed the tumor for years.
“I almost lost my life,” Williams told reporters on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
The 31-year-old said he was diagnosed with Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans, or DFSP, a “very rare” type of skin cancer that grows on the connective tissue cells in the middle layer of the skin known as the dermis, Mayo Clinic says. The tumor may initially look similar to a bruise or a scar, and treatment for the mass usually consists of surgical removal or radiation therapy for anything the operation couldn’t remove.
Williams claimed he first brought up the growth to team doctors six years ago in 2013 but that Redskins medical staff downplayed the seriousness of it. As the mass — located on his head — grew in size over the years, Williams claimed he repeatedly asked team doctors about it and was told it was of no concern.
The team eventually sent him to a Northern Virginia hospital during the offseason to have the growth checked, and it was there that doctors discovered the mass was cancerous. Williams then underwent three surgeries to remove the tumor.
“We literally caught it within weeks of metastasizing through to my brain to my skull,” Williams said, according to the Post. “[It was] a scary thing to go through.”
A 2019 report published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information said DFSP has a survival rate of 99 percent, with people over the age of 50 being the most at risk for reoccurrence. Yet, Williams said doctors told him to get his affairs in order in case things didn’t go as planned.
Williams said he doesn’t hold team owner Daniel Snyder responsible.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Williams said, before adding that “there’s no trust” between him and the organization.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the Redskins said they plan to review Williams’ medical records and the care he was given.
“The Washington Redskins have requested that the NFL’s Management Council convene a joint committee with the NFLPA to review the medical records and the medical care given to Trent Williams,” the team said in the statement.
“We have requested this review under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement that provides for an independent third-party review of any NFL player’s medical care,” the statement continued. “The Redskins continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our players and staff. Due to healthcare and privacy regulations, we are unable to comment further at this time. We look forward to the joint committee’s results.”