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Boyle of Devils says cancer is in remission

Center diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia prior to last season

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Brian Boyle said his cancer is in remission after receiving the results from his most recent blood test on Monday.

The 33-year old New Jersey Devils center, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia on Sept. 19, 2017, was originally told by doctors that it could take up to 18 months before the disease went into full remission; it took 12 months and 33 days.

"A test (BCR-ABL1) looks for the leukemia cells in your blood and when I was first diagnosed, it was at 75 percent," Boyle said Wednesday. "At the end of last season, it was at .08 percent, and in July I was .04 percent. The results showed all zeros on Monday. It's full molecular remission, and I feel really good. It was kind of the way the progression was happening the last few tests. When I told my wife, she was excited and got emotional.

"The game plan has been working well, and now I'm just going to continue with it. It was good news, but it doesn't change a whole lot for me and I'll continue taking the medicine."

Boyle needs to continue his medication once a month and the regular checkups with his doctors to make certain the cancer remains in remission. He attends Summit Medical in New Jersey, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where is is from and resides in the offseason.

Boyle also said his 3-year-old son, Declan, who has an arteriovenous malformation of his jaw, a rare condition that impacts blood flow and oxygen circulation, is doing well and is attending school four days a week.

"He's a normal kid again," Boyle said. "It's fantastic. I'm just glad I'm spending more energy out on the ice and in the locker room now. I'm fully here (with the Devils). This is such a tough league, so it just makes things easier for me."

Boyle was diagnosed after a training camp physical last season and returned to play on Nov. 1, 2017. He had 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 69 games. He also represented the Devils at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game in Tampa and was awarded the 2018 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Boyle has four points (three goals, one assist) in six games, and has averaged 11:42 in ice time in a fourth-line role this season. He has 196 points (109 goals, 87 assists) in 699 NHL games over 13 seasons with the Devils, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Devils (4-2-0) host the Nashville Predators at Prudential Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-TN, NHL.TV).

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