Lake Brantley basketball coach Mike Cuff is back at school and undergoing Monday through Friday radiation treatments after undergoing surgery to remove cancerous cells in his tongue.
He was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer that most commonly occurs in the salivary glands according to Cancer.Net.
“This is definitely the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced,” Cuff said on Thursday. “But treatable and curable. Those were the two words I needed to hear.
“I’m staying positive. Between surgery and the radiation they said there’s about a 98-percent chance that it will never come back. Everybody at Lake Brantley and our parents have been so supportive.”
Cuff, 47, said he never smoked or chewed tobacco.
He completed his 12th day of radiation treatment on Thursday. His second of two surgeries came two days after the Patriots 2012-13 season ended in February.
Cuff’s cyst was discovered by a dentist over the summer. He waited until Christmas break to have it removed and was informed three days after that procedure that it was cancerous. The second surgery removed the malignant cells.
“They had to cut a good portion of my tongue out,” Cuff said. “The first couple of weeks I couldn’t talk at all. I was a little worried about that. Eating has been a challenge. But that part is getting better.”
Cuff has coached at Brantley for nine seasons after three as head coach at Bishop Moore.
Buddy Collings is a senior sports writer covering high schools for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.