69 year-old Rush Limbaugh has revealed on air that he has “advanced” lung cancer and will be undergoing treatment.
He was diagnosed in January after he was exhibiting symptoms of shortness of breath.
The conservative talk show icon will take some time off for treatment but still hopes to continue broadcasting.
“I wish I didn’t have to tell you this, and I thought about not trying to tell anybody, I thought about trying to do this without anybody knowing, because I don’t like making things about me,” he said. But “there are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here, because I will be undergoing treatment, or I’m reacting to treatment.”
Early lung cancer can be silent. As it progresses, however, symptoms such as chronic cough, wheeze, blood in sputum, lethargy and weight loss can ensue.
Limbaugh was known for his affinity for cigars. It is unclear how much he smoked.
Although lung cancer risk drops dramatically the longer one avoids tobacco products, the resulting tissue damage, injury to one’s immune response, and genetic mutations may persist. Moreover, lung cancer can occur even in non-smokers.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer related death in the US for both men and women, surpassing breast and colon cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, they estimate in 2020 there will be 228,820 new cases and 135,720 deaths from lung cancer.
Prognosis depends on the stage of cancer at time of diagnosis. According to American Lung Association:
The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 56 percent for cases detected when the disease is still localized (within the lungs). However, only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage. For distant tumors (spread to other organs) the five-year survival rate is only 5 percent.
This is a developing story.