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Former Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan overcoming brain tumor

Oct 25, 2012, 12:15 PM EDT

Chris Duncan AP

The baseball family that includes ex-Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and his sons, former Cardinals outfielder Chris and the still active major leaguer Shelley, suffered a big blow last year when Dave’s wife, Jeanine, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Dave was away from the  Cardinals for much of the 2011 season, and he remained on a leave of absence for the duration of 2012.

While Jeanine has continued her fight with cancer this year, the family got an even bigger shock at the end of September, as Chris was diagnosed with a brain tumor of his own, he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Flown down on a Cardinals’ owner’s private jet, Duncan received treatment at the same Duke University medical facility that his mother did. Surgery took place Oct. 10, and now he’s getting chemo.

“They took out 95 percent of the tumor, there was a little bit left,” Chris Duncan said. “They said most of the tumor was Stage 2 cancer, there was a little piece that was a Stage 4 — but that was a small piece of it.”

The tumor was in his speech area of the brain, so he wasn’t able to talk for the first week after the operation.

“I remembered the surgery the next day, but the swelling grew, then I was out of it for a week,” he said. “Then I woke up and I started gradually getting better. I remember waking up and seeing the Cardinals led the Giants 3-1. I didn’t remember anything about the Washington series.”

Doctors aren’t sure if Duncan and his mother were both exposed to something that led to the tumors. Chris did get a lot of X-rays for his neck problems that ended his career, and he wonders if that has something to do with it.

Chris, who is just 31, played five years with the Cardinals before having to call it quits, hitting .257/.348/.458 with 55 homers in 1,147 at-bats. He’s currently doing sports talk radio in St. Louis, and he’s hoping to return to the air next week.

  1. cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I hope it all comes out ok for this guy and his mom. Its pretty hard on the other family members with this going on. Good luck to them all.

  2. geoknows - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    You can’t help but wonder if there is something genetic here. Best wishes for better health to the Duncans.

  3. shanabartels - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Whether the tumors are a genetic predisposition, the result of exposure to something carcinogenic, or just a really strange coincidence is a mystery. But whatever the case may be, that’s a lot for one family to go through. I hope Jeanine and Chris both make a full recovery.

  4. dwrek5 - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Get well soon, I hope they’re keeping your seat warm on The Fast Lane!

  5. stlouis1baseball - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    How much bad (no terrible) news can one family take?
    I can’t even begin to imagine what Dave and Shelley are going through right now.
    Get well Duncan’s!

  6. ame123 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Terrible, terrible news. If its stage 4, its metatstatic, most likely GBM, the worst POS cancer immaginable. Here is hoping Chris can beat the odds.

  7. raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Best wishes for the whole family.

  8. drewnichols81 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Will never forget your sweet left handed swing take Zambrano out of Wrigley. get well

  9. indaburg - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    How heartbreaking. My thoughts are with the family.

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