Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning has surgery to deal with prostate cancer, urges men to get checked

Hall of Famer and Miami Heat legend — and current front office member — Alonzo Mourning came forward this week talking about having prostate cancer and the surgery he needed to treat it. Mourning also is urging other men to get checked for a cancer that often shows few, if any, symptoms until it is far along.

Mourning told his story to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“What scares me about this disease is that there are so many men walking around feeling great and have that cancer in them and they don’t know it,” Mourning told ESPN. “The only way to find out is to get their blood tested and get their PSA checked. There are 3.3 million men living in the U.S. with prostate cancer, and many don’t even know it. I was one of those guys.”…

In late 2022, Mourning’s urologist, Dr. Maury Jayson, told him that his PSA scores were “creeping up.” A rise in PSA scores can be a warning sign of prostate cancer, so the doctor set an MRI screening on his prostate — which revealed some “shadows” in the imaging and necessitated a biopsy for Feb. 23, Mourning said. Soon after, Dr. Sanoj Punnen, a urologic oncologist at the University of Miami, called Mourning with the news that he had a Gleason score of eight — which reflected a high grade of prostate cancer.

“And Dr. Punnen tells me, ‘I want to get a PET scan immediately to make sure cancer hasn’t spread through your body,'” Mourning told ESPN. “I was in shock. I can’t tell you enough about how well my body felt. I was in top-notch shape — running sprints, strong.”

Fortunately, the cancer had not spread. Mourning had treatment, including surgery to remove his prostate so the cancer would not spread. That surgery was in March and Mourning is still recovering.

Mourning — an NBA champion, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time All-Star whose No. 33 has been retired by the Heat — has been a member of the Miami front office since he retired in 2008. He currently serves as the Heat’s vice president of player programs.

What he focused on speaking to Wojnarowski was encouraging other men to get checked, that prostate cancer can grow with few symptoms in the body. “If I didn’t get routine checkups, I probably wouldn’t be here to talk about this. I want men to be proactive with their health.” Mourning said.

Fortunately, Mourning was proactive with his own health, and it saved his life.