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Syracuse women’s basketball: Tiana Mangakahia diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer

Mangakahia announced the diagnosis on Twitter on Monday.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament - Syracuse vs Notre Dame Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The world can be an awful, cruel place sometimes. Life gives us twists, turns, and triumphs; but the human elements of life are emphasized when it becomes tough. Syracuse Orange women’s basketball point guard Tiana Mangakahia has battled against countless difficult opponents on the hardwood throughout her storied career in Australia and at Syracuse University, but no battle is larger than the one she announced she would begin to fight this week.

In the column attached to the above tweet, Mangakahia writes that she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer (Grade 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) on June 18 after undergoing tests and then a biopsy four days prior. She also says she is starting chemotherapy on Friday and “will have to” have surgery after receiving treatment.

This sort of diagnosis at such a young age is far from common. Fewer than 5% of U.S. breast cancer cases are in women under 40 years old.

In April, Mangakahia announced that she would forego the WNBA Draft to return to Syracuse for her senior season. The 2019 Nancy Lieberman Award finalist averaged 16.9 points and dished 8.4 assists per game in the 2018-19 season as Syracuse lost in the second of the NCAA Tournament versus South Dakota State.

For now, though, basketball means absolutely nothing. We are all #Tough4T and TNIAAM sends our best thoughts and wishes to Tiana.

Follow Corey Crisan on Twitter @cdcrisan.