Bryant Gumbel Battling Cancer

Bryant Gumbel Battling Cancer

Bryant Gumbel Battling Cancer

The overall prognosis for lung cancer is poor especially when compared with other cancers. But, thanks to research, new treatments and procedures, improved drugs and techniques, more and more of us are 'survivors' of cancer

   

Bryant Gumbel Battling Cancer

image by: Rubenstein

Here’s another celebrity to add to the growing list of those battling cancer. Bryant Gumbel, 61, shocked T.V. viewers when he announced that he's recovering from cancer surgery. The announcement came while he was co-hosting Live! with Regis and Kelly. The former Today show anchor said that he had surgery two months ago to remove part of his lung along with a malignant tumor from his chest.

Gumbel revealed his condition to co-host Kelly Ripa just before going on the air last Tuesday. During the “Host Chat” part of the show, Kelly Ripa told Gumbel that "you just made me almost faint." The two had been talking backstage and Ripa mentioned that she wanted to dance with him in a segment with a woman who dances for exercise. Gumbel resisted, and when Ripa continued, he said he was not allowed to dance as he was recovering from surgery.

Trying to calm Ripa and the shocked audience he said, "It's nothing to hide from. They opened up my chest, they took out a malignant tumor, they took out part of my lung and they took out some other goodies. Even with the surgery some aggressive cancer cells had escaped, so I went through some treatment and it's done now. We hope, We HOPE, it's over," he said. Gumbel said he and his wife, Hilary Quinlan, originally wanted to keep the news private. "We told a few people, we told my family, obviously," he said. "I even kept it from my staff at Real Sports".

Real Sports is the HBO Sports newsmagazine show he is currently working on. HBO confirmed their lack of knowledge of the cancer but added that Gumbel had not missed any filming due to his illness. Gumbel did not specify the type of cancer he had, specific treatments he underwent, or what his prognosis was, but the rumor is that he has lung cancer.

Lung cancer is typically divided into two categories. The most common being non-small cell lung cancer which typically grows and spreads slowly and accounts for 80% of all lung cancers. The second is small cell lung cancer which generally grows quickly and is more likely to form large tumors that spread throughout the body and is the most difficult to fight. Smoking is almost always the cause of small cell lung cancer. 

While smoking still causes the majority of lung cancers, exposure to second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, exposure to asbestos, coal dust and air pollution can cause damage to the cells in the lungs which may increase your risk of developing lung cancer. You may also be at a higher risk if you have a lung disease, such as tuberculosis or have a family history of lung cancer. Radon gas seepage in your very home has also been implicated as a potential cause!

Treatment for lung cancer varies but once lung cancer is found, staging tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread. Once the degree of cancer has been confirmed a course of treatment can be determined and may include surgery to remove the tumor, surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Depending on the location of the tumor and degree of cancer, surgery may include removal of only a small part of the lung (Lobectomy), or the removal of the entire lung (Pneumonectomy). 

Besides conventional radiation and chemotherapy, there are several types of treatments not yet widely used, but the National Cancer Institute considers them potential therapies: Photodynamic therapy is a type of laser therapy where a chemical is injected into the bloodstream and absorbed by the cancerous cells in the body. Then a laser is aimed at the tumor, which activates the chemical and kills the cancerous cells that have absorbed the chemicals. There’s also cryosurgery, a treatment that freezes and destroys cancerous tissue and minimizes damage to nearby healthy tissue. And there is even the developing field of immunotherapy including cancer vaccines.

The overall prognosis for lung cancer is poor especially when compared with other cancers. The  overall five-year survival rate for lung cancer is about 16% compared to 65% for colon cancer, 89% for breast cancer, and over 99% for prostate cancer. Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms: a cough that doesn’t go away and worsens over time, constant chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, wheezing, hoarseness, repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis, swelling of the neck and face, weight loss or fatigue. 

Despite the grim odds Bryant Gumbel is optimistic, he says, "I've felt better, to be honest, and not as strong as I'd like to be ... but I feel ok.  So I'm okay for the time being."  He says he'll be making a visit to his doctor soon and "I'm hoping they green light me to play golf again."

 

Stacy Matson is a health enthusiast from Southern California and regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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Last Updated : Tuesday, October 25, 2022