By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 76ers are showing their support for one of their assistant coaches who’s still recovering from cancer treatments. The Sixers are making a donation to Jefferson Health and Kimmel Cancer Center, that’s where the coach was treated.

The contribution is aimed at early detection, which is the key to survival.

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“It’s a rough treatment, but it’s obviously well worth it to come out on the other side,” Sixers assistant coach Dave Joerger said.

Joerger is talking about the radiation and chemotherapy he had for head and neck cancer.

“Certainly a moment that I will never forget, you know, hearing the diagnosis,” Joerger said. “The radiation in the neck, the mouth area, you know, my tastebuds are coming back slowly. There are things that are different now.”

He returned to the team in February after being diagnosed in October. The 47-year-old is part of a new trend.

“This is one of the cancers that’s becoming more common currently,” Dr. David M. Cognetti, with Jefferson Health, said. “So we’re seeing this more often and more often in younger people.”

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Cognetti treated Joerger and says he was fortunate to find it early with a lump on his neck that felt like swollen lymph glands.

“The good news about this cancer is it is very curable,” Dr. Cognetti said.

The 76ers are grateful for the treatment coach Joerger received and are donating 75,000 to Jefferson and the Kimmel Cancer Center.

“These are real game-changers for people,” Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Dr. Andy Chapman said. “The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is really going to enable us to extend our community outreach and engagement efforts through screening and education in a big way.”

For Joerger, who’s still healing with a limited voice, the playoffs are a welcomed distraction.

“It will get back to normal but it’s still not there. I can’t stand up and yell as easily as I used to,” Joerger said.

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Coach also wants to help get the word out about the importance of early detection. Jefferson says the donation from the 76ers will allow them to reach an additional 1,200 people with their mobile screen events.

Stephanie Stahl