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Roughead cancer free, starts AFL return

AAP logoAAP 5/12/2016 Jason Phelan and Roger Vaughan

Hawthorn star Jarryd Roughead has declared himself cancer-free and is back in full training for an AFL comeback.

Roughead revealed on Tuesday that he'd had a complete response to powerful and cutting edge treatment he'd received at Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for melanoma.

But the four-time premiership star is putting no timeline on when he might return to the AFL, noting he has not played at any level since the 2015 grand final win.

"I am - I'm cancer free and that's what you wanted to hear," he told the club website.

"It's a pretty good feeling.

"I've had a complete response from the treatment so far and he (the doctor) has given me the all-clear to get back into living normal life.

"(I can) get back to doing things that I want, which is playing footy and living my life, which is what the plan was from the start.

"It reassures me that things are all good and we can get back to normal life."

Roughead underwent new immune-based treatment rather than traditional chemotherapy that stimulates the body's immune system to attack cancer cells.

The new treatment can be more effective, but patients can still experience serious side-effects, such as inflammation of the eyes, lungs and liver.

"Jarryd is a champion athlete and he brought that to his fight against melanoma," Professor Grant McArthur, the centre's head oncologist, told reporters.

"He did have some pretty bad side-effects there at one point and was able to use his determination and grit - qualities that make him a champion - to get through that.

"So Jarryd should look forward to getting on with life. Certainly from a cancer specialist's perspective Jarryd has the all-clear to return to AFL football."

McArthur will continue to work with Hawthorn medical staff as the 29-year-old makes a gradual return to the game.

Roughead trained on Monday morning as the Hawks returned for their pre-season and he received the good news later that afternoon.

The ruck-forward had a melanoma cut from his lip last year and in May tests showed the cancer had spread to his lungs.

Roughead was already out of action for the first half of this season because of a knee injury.

Latest studies on patients who have received immune-based treatment have shown few relapses, but Roughead will continue to have precautionary checks every three months.

"After the last one with my lip, we knew we had surveillance and check-ups and that's what got this one in the first place," he said.

"So it's not as if I'm going back to see if I've still got it, it's what is part of the deal now.

"That will go on for a couple of years and then obviously extend the longer we go."

The 231-game veteran is about six months ahead of initial forecasts for his treatment, but said he still had no idea how long it would take to be ready for an AFL return.

"I don't think you can put a timeline on it straight away," he said.

"I haven't been able to hit some bodies and have a muck around on the field - that's as much a release as it is a job.

"I'm pretty much starting from scratch.

"(But) we're on the right road and right path to hopefully playing footy again."

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