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Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on August 30, 2019


From a return to work for Alex Trebek to a personalized Backstreet Boys concert, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

Alex Trebek is back to work at “Jeopardy!” after going through “a lot of chemotherapy,” the longtime host said in a newly released video message. He is currently filming new episodes for the game show’s 36th season, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “We've got some exciting things coming up, and I can't wait to share them with all of you,” said Trebek. “Let me tell you, it's going to be a good year.”

In March, Trebek revealed that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Then, in May, many were shocked to learn that his cancer had shrunk by more than 50%. “I'm on the mend, and that's all I can hope for right now,” said Trebek, who turned 79 in July.

The new season begins Sept. 9.

Singer Eddie Money revealed that he has stage 4 esophageal cancer. Although he received the diagnosis last fall, the 70-year-old just announced the news, which he plans to share and detail his journey on his reality TV show “Real Money.”

The diagnosis came following a checkup, Money said. He wants to share his story with others to let them know that “cancer has come a long way and not everyone dies from the disease.”

“Am I gonna live a long time? Who knows, it’s in God’s hands,” Money said in an interview. “But you know what? I’ll take every day I can get. Every day above ground is a good day.”

Season 2 of “Real Money” premieres Sept. 12.

When one patient couldn’t make the Backstreet Boys concert, a group of oncology nurses in Atlanta brought the show to her.

Tickets for the Aug. 21 show were given to Amanda Coley and her sister as a Christmas gift from their husbands. But on Aug. 1, Coley received a leukemia diagnosis and was admitted to the hospital to begin treatment.

Her sister and friend teamed up to throw a surprise party with music and junk food. They even sent invitations to all the nurses. But the nurses were one step ahead with an extra special surprise — they marched into her room dancing, clapping and singing the hit song “I Want It That Way.”

The video was posted to social media and went viral, even catching the attention of Backstreet Boy heartthrob Nick Carter who tweeted: “We missed you last night Amanda! Looks (and sounds) like you have a great team helping you get better. We’re thinking of you and sending you love. To the nurses of Northside Cancer Center, thank you for all you do!!”

The super fans we thrilled to hear from Carter, who also told Coley’s sister to “Keep in touch so we can make sure Amanda can get to a show when she’s feeling better!”

Rick Springfield is going teal for ovarian cancer. The “Jesse’s Girl” singer will rock a teal guitar Saturday at the New York State Fair, according to Hope for Heather, an ovarian cancer awareness group in central New York.

He reportedly will also shred a dozen teal roses on the guitar during the concert, which is set to take place at the Experience Stage.

Members of the volunteer organization purchased the guitar over a year ago for musicians to play to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. The disease is often considered a silent killer as symptoms don’t arise until the cancer has advanced.

Concert goers are encouraged to wear teal, but if they don’t have anything that color, Hope for Heather will pass out teal ribbons.

“The teal guitar puts the awareness message literally at center stage,” Frieda Weeks, executive director of Hope for Heather, said in an interview. “Seeing your favorite musicians rocking the guitar will start a conversation and could save someone’s life.”

A dancer gets his star role following two cancer diagnoses over five years. Colorado Ballet's Francisco Estevez will take the stage as Basilio, his first role as a principal dancer — the highest rank within a professional dance company.

In 2013, he learned he had testicular cancer and had surgery. Last year, he received a chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis for which he was treated with chemotherapy. Still on the oral medication, he experiences side effects, such as migraines, fatigue and muscle weakness. But credits his active lifestyle for helping his recovery process.

“The research is advancing quite quickly,” Estevez said in an interview with Pointe. “Twenty years ago, this would have been a terminal illness, but with the advent of this new drug, people have been able to stay on it and live fairly normal lives.

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