Brian Boyle is one year removed from being diagnosed with leukemia, and while the New Jersey Devils centre said the outlook is positive, he will continue to battle cancer "for the foreseeable future."
Boyle, who missed just 13 games last season after his diagnosis, continues to take medication twice a day to fight the disease.
“It’s a really good prognosis, but it’s serious," Boyle told People. "If you don’t take care of yourself and do the treatment as recommended it can get worse, so it’s something that were very much taking seriously, my wife and I.”
He said it's too soon to focus on when he will be cancer-free.
“I’ve asked [when I’ll be in remission] and it’s years, like three years,” he said. “I’m on the right track, and I’ve exceeded all these milestones, which has been really positive. But you want to be at all zeros across the board, so I think it’s at least a year before I can even think about what comes next.”
The 33-year-old scored 13 goals with the Devils to match his total from each of the previous two seasons and won the Masterton Trophy last season for best displaying the "qualities of perseverance and sportsmanship."
“You know it, was tough for me, but really it was what my wife went through. It was nice to be able to stand up there [at the NHL Awards] on her behalf as well,” Boyle said. “So many people reached out to me. It was an unbelievable year, just in terms of the humanity that I was shown.”
Boyle is expected to centre the Devils' fourth line in Saturday's season opener in Sweden against the Edmonton Oilers.