GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - Mark Berry's conversation with his sister Michelle may have saved his life.

The Cincinnati Reds third base coach has been diagnosed with cancer on his tonsils and neck lymph nodes. The 50-year-old traveled to Cincinnati on Wednesday to have a biopsy of his lymph nodes, which was positive.

"I first noticed in early December. My tonsils swelled up," Berry said. "I hurt like a cold or a flu and I thought it was just that."

After two weeks Berry didn't get sick but the pain persisted.

"Then in the beginning of January, the lymph nodes in my neck felt like small marbles. Around mid-January I went to see a doctor," Berry said. "Cancer was the last thing on my mind. We were going to spring training. We had an ear, nose and throat specialist examining us."

The specialist conducting the spring training physicals suggested that Berry have two needle biopsies. One was inconclusive and the other was negative.

Berry had a conversation with his sister, Michelle Gonzalez. His sister went through the identical scenario 15 years earlier. "She told me not to be satisfied with the biopsies," Berry said.

Reds team physician, Dr. Timothy Kremchek put Berry in touch with Dr. Corey Casper of the University of Cincinnati/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance.

"Dr. Casper told me that he thought it originated in my tonsils," Berry said. "Wednesday they took enough of the tonsil to test it. Sure enough, the test came back and it was definitely cancer."




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