Former Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers player Tom Holmes reveals cancer diagnosis

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​Former Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers player Tom Holmes has revealed he is battling cancer.

​Holmes, who now plays for Bradford Bulls, has been diagnosed with subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma (SPTCL), a rare condition which will require chemotherapy, writes Peter Smith.

Bulls have pledged to support the 27-year-old half-back as he awaits a treatment plan.

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In a statement released through the club, Holmes said: “There’s been a lot of speculation recently about my health, so I just wanted to let people know from myself personally what’s actually going on.

Tom Holmes in action for Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Tony JohnsonTom Holmes in action for Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Tony Johnson
Tom Holmes in action for Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Tony Johnson

"I saw a rapid decline in my health just as the season ended. After countless appointments, hospital visits, biopsies and scans, the specialists told me to prepare for the worst and informed me that what we’re looking at is an extremely rare type of cancer (SPTCL) which would be treated by chemotherapy. This cancer effects less than one per cent of people so due to this there is so much unknown still by the doctors themselves.

“There is still more testing I’ve got to go through and we’re working on a treatment plan. I’m trying to remain hopeful as the specialists are still looking at all options in the small hope that there’s something less sinister at play, however it’s looking less likely to be anything else at the moment and chemotherapy would have to start soon.

"So right now, I don’t have answers for anybody on what’s going to happen but for now it's just more tests and more waiting around.”

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Holmes was born in Castleford and made 15 appearances for his hometown club from 2015-2017. He has also played in Super League with Huddersfield Giants and has had spells with Batley Bulldogs, Featherstone and Sheffield Eagles.

“Bradford have been amazing with me every step of the way,” he added.

“I haven't been able to take part in any pre-season until I know what’s going on, but the club have done everything they can to support me through this tough time and I will be supporting the team and helping in any way I can.

“As you can imagine these last few months have been very difficult not just for myself but my family too and those closest to me who have known.

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"My partner and my kids have been my rock (and) I don't know what I would do without them supporting me every single day no matter what it brings.

"I’ve decided to put this out publicly as it’s much easier emotionally for me and my family to let everybody know all at once. I know everybody is going to have questions and want to know things, but please understand that although I appreciate the love and support, I’m taking this time to rest and be with my family.”