Ethan Zohn, who won "Survivor: Africa" received bad news on September 14, when doctors found that his cancer had returned.
Zohn, who is often considered one of the most-liked "Survivor" contestants, was in his 20th month of remission from Hodgkin's lymphoma when he heard the news.
"I don't want fear or cancer to define me, but it's always in the back of your mind," Zohn told People magazine in a recent interview. "It's localized in my lung area... But it's good that it's not all over my body."
The 37-year-old soccer pro told the weekly magazine that his girlfriend of eight years, fellow "Survivor" winner Jenna Morasca was by his side when he heard the news.
"She's taking it like the rock star that she is," Zohn said of Morasca. "We're both filled with fear and anger and anxiety and gratitude and frustration. But there's so much love there. It's this whole spectrum of emotions."
The former reality star has begun treatment for the cancer, using a new form of chemotherapy called SGN-35, which specifically targets cancer cells. After three months of chemotherapy treatment, Zohn told People that he will undergo another stem-cell transplant from one of his brothers.
"But the doctors won't tell me which one. They didn't want me to start treating one differently than the other," Zohn said. "Of course my whole family is taking bets on who it is."
Zohn rose to fame after appearing on "Survivor: Africa," the third season of the reality series. He also appeared on the All-Stars edition of the show. After winning $1 million on the series, the Massachusetts native co-founded the Grassroot Soccer organization, whose goal is to "mobilize the global soccer community to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa."
Amidst his battle, Zohn said he still plans to run the New York City Marathon on November 6 to raise money for Grassroot Soccer.
"The doctors think I'm crazy but they gave me the okay," Zohn continued. "Cancer isn't going to slow me down. I want people to know that you can still live a fulfilled life and move forward."
Zohn was first diagnosed with the rare CD20-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma in April 2009 and started chemotherapy the following month. After three months of chemotherapy, his cancer returned in September 2009, but following a stem-cell transplant, he received a clean CT scan in April 2010.
Zohn began dating Morasca following her victory on "Survivor: The Amazon" in 2003. The couple participated in the 19th season of "The Amazing Race," but were eliminated in the second episode, which aired on October 2, 2011.