Jarryd Roughead: I'm cancer free

Hawthorn star Jarryd "Roughy" Roughead has urged Australians to cover up and get their skin checked this summer, while revealing some fantastic news about his cancer treatment.

They’re the words everyone wanted to hear Hawthorn star Jarryd Roughead say.

“I’m cancer free.” 

Opening up in an exclusive interview with HawksTV about his melanoma scare, Jarryd says his latest PET scan shows he’s healthy enough to get back into training, six months earlier than he had originally hoped. 

“We said at the start it was going to be 12 months, and to be able to sit here now at the start of pre-season and say that, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

After undergoing cancer treatment at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the star forward says his treatment appears to be working, with the latest PET scan showing no sign of the tumours or lumps which had been there previously. 

It means he’s been given the green light to get back into training alongside his friends and second family at the Hawthorn Football Club.

“I haven’t done anything for six or seven months so I’m pretty much starting from scratch.”

“It’s not going to be back to complete normality because obviously I still have to go back to have three monthly check-ups and still see the doctors and making sure I live a healthy life.”

Jarryd took the opportunity to remind people how careful you need to be in the sun, covering up with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and sun protective clothing, while keeping an eye on any changes you notice on your skin.

“If you do see something [that has changed or concerns you], don’t put it off for three or four months. That initially was what happened with me. I let it probably slip a little bit with the one on my lip,” he says.

“You can go in [for a check up] and it doesn’t take long, five or ten minutes to get a once over to make sure your freckles and moles are all good, it’s not that hard.”

He also wanted remind people that while he’s been lucky with his reaction to the cancer drugs, every case is unique. 

“People are going to be thinking, just get on the drugs that I was on, and it’s going to be like that for everyone. But unfortunately every case is different. And some people react differently to the drugs and some people react really positively, such as myself.” 

Jarryd says at the end of the day, while he’s excited to get back into training, nothing’s more important to him than his family. 

“Having my health right and having family by my side the whole time, they’re the things that matter.”


Hawks Forward Jarryd Roughead has always been close to his family, but as the 29-year-old fights cancer, those closest to him play an important role. Tracy McBeth explains.

Jarryd, and his younger brother Cameron and sister Emily were raised by their parents in Leongatha in Gippsland, Victoria.

“I really enjoyed growing up in the country and enjoyed a lot of time with school mates and friends and family.” 

As he and his siblings have grown older, they haven’t grown apart. Now they live five minutes away from each other in Melbourne.

“They both live around the corner now and we catch up once a week for family dinners which is good,” says Roughead. “Being the older brother you’re a bit protective as well of your younger siblings so making sure they’re okay and protecting them is what a big brother is there for.”
But in May this year, when a biopsy revealed four cancer (melanoma) spots in his lung, the love and support of his family and wife Sarah, became even more important. 
“You’ve got a mum and dad that are going to be there and their parental instincts kick in no matter what and even though I’m 29-years-old, they want to drive up and make sure you’re okay,” says Roughead. 
“They’re there to help out whenever they can and make sure that I am okay, I’ve also got my wife who helps me out a fair bit and that’s very important as well.”
Roughead was first diagnosed and operated on for a melanoma on his lip in 2015. He’d been attending regular check-ups since then, and a routine PET scan identified the spots on his lung.
Through it all he’s maintained an incredibly positive attitude to fighting cancer. 

As he undergoes a year-long course of immunotherapy – he’s asked his loved ones not to be down or sad about his diagnosis. 

Jarryd Roughhead image
“There were times initially where were all a bit flat but now knowing we’re already two or three treatments in and know that it’s doing its job and I’m feeling alright is a positive thing.”

“I’m not flat and I’m not down and if everyone can be positive around me that’s going to go a long way to make everything seem normal and that’s what you want,” he says. “I’m not different to how I was before I got diagnosed but you have to go through these little bits of pain every now and again and then you’re no worries.”
Roughead is also buoyed by the support of his other family – the Hawthorn Football Club.
“It’s not like a weekend where you have two sides to pick from,” says Roughead. “When it’s me against what’s going on I know what everyone is going to pick and which side they’ll be on.”
“This has been my second home for 12 years,” he says. “You get to hang around 50 of your best mates, then you have 73 thousand members and it means a lot knowing you have all that support.”
Since Roughead’s diagnosis many of his team mates have had their skin checked, and the 29-year-old wants others to do the same.
“It’s something a lot of people put in their diaries and might forget,” he says, “I was checked a lot but I just thought it was a blister on my lip last year and unfortunately it wasn’t - so now we’re dealing with what we’re dealing with, but we still got it early.” 
Daffodil Day
Cancer Council’s flagship annual fundraising and awareness raising event, Daffodil Day is coming up on August 26th. To learn more and to support them, visit their website at www.daffodilday.com.au  
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