Former Saints prop Tom Smith says he is 'determined to fight' after revealing he is battling cancer
Former Saints prop and Scotland captain Tom Smith has been diagnosed with cancer.
The 48-year-old, who won 61 caps for his country as well as making six the British and Irish Lions Test appearances, has been diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer.
Smith has received intensive rounds of chemotherapy and is also undergoing radiotherapy after the cancer spread to his liver and brain.
"I was in my hospital bed and I said to staff, 'I'm determined to fight this'," Smith told the Scottish Rugby Union website.
Smith, who played for the Caledonian Reds, Glasgow Caledonians and Brive as well as Northampton, now lives in the south of France.
He spent eight years at Franklin's Gardens, from 2001 until his retirement from playing in 2009, and was part of the Saints team that won the European Challenge Cup in his final season.
In all, he made 174 appearances for the club, scoring 10 tries.
In an interview with the BBC, the Smith revealed how continued pain in his abdomen eventually led to him seeking medical help earlier this year, following weight loss, lack of sleep and passing blood.
"I played rugby for 15 years professionally. Aches and pains are part of the deal as you get older. I think I wrote it off until it got to the point that I needed to do something," Smith said in a BBC Sounds special podcast.
"I try to get on with things and that's probably my downfall.
"Life has changed very quickly. I want to do the right thing for my family; this all leaves you a bit exposed.
"I'm lucky enough to have a good group of friends and a strong community helping and supporting."
A reunion lunch of Scotland's 1999 Five Nations Championship winning team, in which Smith played, is set to be held in Edinburgh during December. The event will help raise funds for the former Scotland captain and his family, wife Zoe and three children, aged 18, 17 and nine.
There will also be a dedicated dinner, supported by close friend Shaun Longstaff and fellow Scotland winger Kenny Logan, hosted at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham during March, with proceeds set to further aid the family.
Smith added: "The uncertainty is something which provokes fear. I'd like to bring as much certainty as I can to the future of my family. That will help me.
"It's quite daunting because some of the treatment is very unpleasant. But I've faced some tough opponents, and the least you can do is fight. So let's fight."