Jamie Pollard announces testicular cancer diagnosis


Jamie Pollard said T.J. Otzelberger’s passion and love for the Iowa State program was a major factor in making him the 21st head men’s basketball coach at Iowa State.

Sam Stuve

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard announced that he has been diagnosed with testicular cancer in a letter to Cyclone fans on Wednesday.

“I debated sharing this information widely to avoid my diagnosis being a distraction to our athletics program. However, the reality of hiding the news has also been stressful,” Pollard said in the letter.

Pollard said he began feeling pain in his groin area four weeks ago while on a run. After a week of irritation, Pollard identified a lump on his right testicle.

“After seeing a doctor for an ultrasound, it was determined that surgery was necessary. I had that testicle removed last Tuesday afternoon and, unfortunately, learned a day later it was cancerous. That was sobering news to hear the day before Thanksgiving,” Pollard said. 

On Monday, Pollard said he had a CT scan and some blood work done and found out that the cancer had not spread from the originating site and that his blood work came normal.

Pollard said he’s meeting with a local oncologist on Friday to discuss treatment options, “which include doing nothing other than monitoring my blood work and performing CT scans every 3-6 months, undergoing chemotherapy, or beginning radiation treatments.”

This is not the first time Pollard has been open with the health issues he has had, as he had open-heart surgery in 2015.

“I also have a wonderful opportunity to use my platform as Director of Athletics to help others, who may be dealing with similar challenges. When I had open-heart surgery in 2015, it allowed me to encourage others battling similar heart issues. By sharing some details of my cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, I can emphasize the critical importance of early detection as it relates to cancer survival rates,” Pollard said. 

Pollard wrote that he hopes he has limited the extent of the cancer spreading with the early detection.

“I hope that I have limited the extent of my cancer through early detection and treatment. I am grateful for the doctors and medical providers here in Ames, who have been incredibly accessible and responsive to my case,” Pollard said.

“It is important to me to publicly thank my wife, Ellen. Although it is one thing for me to deal with the professional / personal boundaries, Ellen has had to deal with those same boundaries countless times, both as a mother and wife. It takes a really strong and special person to navigate that landscape.”

Pollard said during the course of treatment, he is going to “trust the process,” just like Matt Campbell likes to say.

“In closing, I feel blessed to know the cancer has not spread and am ready to follow what my medical team feels is the best course of treatment. As Coach [Matt] Campbell likes to say, ‘Trust the Process.’ That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Pollard wrote.