Even Cancer Can’t Stop Kampei’s Earth Marathon

Hazama Kampei has cancer

Hazama Kampei isn’t going to let a little thing like cancer stop him from running round the world. The Yoshimoto comedian recently made a hospital visit in Istanbul for a scheduled checkup as part of his Earth Marathon, an attempt to run and sail around the globe. After having sailed across the Pacific and Atlantic, and run across the North American and European continents, he was shocked when test results showed that he has prostate cancer. He revealed the illness for the first time on his blog yesterday.

The shocking news came almost a year after Hazama (60) was diagnosed with high levels of PSA, a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland, following tests in Los Angeles. Doctors diagnosed it as a prostate infection and he was given antibiotics. Subsequent tests in cities across the U.S. and Europe indicated the problem was under control, though Hazama was still taking the medication. After the test in Istanbul revealed excessive levels of PSA, doctors recommended further tests. But Hazama insisted on continuing to Ankara and reaching the 10,000km mark in his global quest on New Year’s Eve, before returning to Istanbul. He underwent more tests and was given the bad news on January 4.

“For about a week I was really worried,” he said. “Could I finish the Earth Marathon? Could I beat this disease? Would I die? At times I couldn’t sleeping from worrying about it.” But after the test data was shared with doctors in the U.S. and Japan, it was decided that rather than undergo surgery he could be treated with hormone therapy that would keep the cancer in check and allow him to continue his quest. “I was incredibly happy,” he said, announcing that he would resume his journey from tomorrow. He hopes to arrive back in Osaka sometime between this autumn and the spring of 2011.