Former Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson, 35, diagnosed with cancer for third time

Joe Thompson revealed he has cancer for the third time. Credit: MEN Media

Former Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson has revealed he has been diagnosed with cancer for a third time.

Dale favourite Joe, who also turned out for Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United and Bury, was cleared of nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma in June 2014 after six months of chemotherapy.However, in March 2017, the footballer confirmed the cancer had returned after a tumour was found on his chest.He stopped playing while he underwent more treatment - including a stem cell transplant - and was told he was in complete remission again after fighting back, returning to football and Rochdale in December 2017.

Now Joe, a radio presenter, has revealed he's been diagnosed with cancer again, telling BBC Radio Manchester of the moment he told his eldest daughter with his wife Chantelle.

Joe Thompson says the cancer has spread to his lungs. Credit: MEN Media

Joe, 35, said: "The cancer's come back for the third time, so far from ideal. It's come back quite aggressive as well, so stage four Hodgkin lymphoma."I suppose the only positive is, it's the same cancer as what I have had previously. The issue for me this time round is, it's gone to my lungs."So breathing obviously becomes a problem, going to sleep can be difficult. And just talking can be sometimes quite hard."Joe, a former Manchester United youth player, told how he found a lump in his neck.

He said: "I always check and have a little feel around certain areas. And I just noticed that on the right hand side of my neck there was one large lymph node.

"I obviously spoke to my wife Chantelle and was like 'oh no, have we got to walk this road again'."

Joe retired in 2019. Credit: PA Images

The father-of-two said telling his eldest daughter with his wife 'was one of the most difficult conversations ever'.Joe said: "When we told her, she just ran off back into the bedroom. And she was like, no, no, no. It's a dream. It's a nightmare."What can we say to her when she comes back out because it's not a nightmare. This is life."

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Joe said:

"Its true I have cancer for the third time. But we’ve walked through darkness as a family before and we will do it again!"I need you all to rise up."The radio host posted a link to a fundraising page writing: "All I ask if you can to contribute."Anything received is with heart full of gratitude."

At Spotland, Joe will always be remembered for his fairytale strike against Charlton Athletic in May 2018, which kept Rochdale in League One and sent rivals Oldham Athletic down to League Two - a goal he said 'meant the world to me'.

He made his debut in May 2006 before signing professional terms and made a total of 203 appearances for Rochdale across three spells, scoring 21 goals, before retiring in 2019.Messages of support for Joe and his family have flooded in after he revealed his diagnosis.One Rochdale fan posted on X, formerly Twitter: "Utterly heartbreaking to see Joe Thompson have to go through cancer for the 3rd time. Life can be cruel."Just know Joe, every Dale fan and the wider football community is behind you."

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