From the death of “Friends” actor James Michael Tyler to Sally Yates’ breast cancer announcement, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.
“Friends” actor James Michael Tyler died from prostate cancer.
James Michael Tyler, an actor known for his role as Gunther on the show “Friends,” died in his Los Angeles home on Sunday as a result of prostate cancer.
Tyler, who was 59 at the time of his death, had shared information about his diagnosis publicly early this summer. He explained that he had been diagnosed in 2018 with prostate cancer and that it had become stage 4 and spread to his bones.
"I've been dealing with that diagnosis for almost the past three years. ... It's stage 4 (now). Late-stage cancer. So eventually, you know, it's gonna probably get me,” he told Today.
Tyler had recently appeared on the “Friends” reunion episode virtually via Zoom – though he was initially supposed to attend in person.
"I didn't want to be like, 'Oh, and by the way, Gunther has cancer,'" Tyler said.
Tyler was survived by his wife, Jennifer Carno.
Sally Yates shared that she has breast cancer.
Sally Yates, the former Deputy General Attorney appointed by former President Barack Obama, discussed her breast cancer diagnosis in an op-ed for CBSNews.com this Thursday.
She explained that she was told she had breast cancer after a biopsy of breast tissue.
“Each year, approximately 280,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of those women are not as fortunate as I was. I had access to top-notch medical care and paid sick leave — benefits that, for many, are absolute necessities during a health crisis,” Yates wrote.
Yates discovered a lump in her breast a week before a scheduled mammogram, though was mostly confident it wasn’t going to be anything of concern. Tests and biopsies, of course, confirmed the opposite. She learned that she had invasive papillary cancer. Her cancer was caught early, and she said that her prognosis is good after having a double mastectomy.
“After hearing the words ‘you have cancer,’ nothing feels the same. But hearing those words sooner than later makes all the difference,” Yates wrote.
She explained that her purpose for sharing her story was to increase awareness for other women.
“Despite having spent a fair amount of my professional life in the public eye, I'm a pretty private person when it comes to my personal life,” Yates said. “But, whether you have a public platform or a small circle of friends, the cancer stakes are too high for the luxury of privacy.”
New “Simpsons” character is a breast cancer survivor.
“The Simpsons” introduced a new character in its Oct. 24 episode with a unique storyline – she is a breast cancer survivor who has had a unilateral mastectomy left with what many survivors refer to as “uniboob.”
The character – named Dr. Wendy Sage – is a hypnotherapist and was voiced by Renee Ridgeley. Ridgeley is a Los Angeles-based actress, writer, breast cancer survivor and “flat” advocate.
"I was like, 'Let's get a breast cancer survivor on The Simpsons,’” Ridgeley told Yahoo Life.
Her husband, Matt Selman, is the “Simpsons” showrunner, and shared that he found his wife’s advocacy to be inspiring and hopeful, and that he was in full support of the character.
"We are always looking to reflect the world as the world changes for good and for bad — usually bad! — but we didn't want it to feel preachy or jammed in. We wanted the fit to feel really clean," Selman said. “Viewers are very sensitive to feeling like they’re being lectured to.”
The character will help Marge and Lisa work through body positivity issues but will not function as an advocate. She will instead just be an individual living her life normally.
"While Sage has all the telltale signs of a breast cancer survivor: a visible scar from a port-o-cath (a device used to deliver chemotherapy), curly hair regrowing from chemo treatment, an obviously one-breasted appearance, and is visually concave on her mastectomy side, the episode does not focus on her past disease," Ridgeley said. "Sage shows up as exactly who she is now. By living openly as a one-breasted woman, she sends a message of acceptance and wholeness celebrated by individuals in marginalized groups."
Tom Brady shared a heartwarming moment with a nine-year-old cancer survivor.
During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game this Sunday, quarterback Tom Brady ran over to a young fan on the sidelines.
The fan – Noah Reeb – is a nine-year-old cancer survivor who was holding a sign that read, “Tom Brady helped me beat brain cancer.”
Brady shook Reeb’s hand and gave him his game hat. The interaction brought Reeb to tears, as shown in a video posted by ESPN.
In a postgame news conference, Brady shared his thoughts on their interaction.
“It was really sweet. Obviously, a tough kid," Brady said, according to WCVB. "It puts a lot in perspective of what we're doing on the field. In the end, it doesn't mean much compared to what so many people go through, so we all try to make a difference in different ways."
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