Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on November 1, 2019


From a palliative care bill clearing the House to a Washington Redskins player revealing a cancer diagnosis, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

This week the House of Representatives unanimously approved the Palliative Care and Hospice and Training Act (PCHETA).

The bill would increase access to palliative care services, expand patient awareness and education and improve care coordination, according to Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. In addition, the PCHETA legislation would increase federal research funding for palliative care, including pain and symptom management. Education and training programs for doctors, nurses and other health professionals would also be part of the bill.

The legislation now heads to the Senate.

Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams revealed on Thursday that he had a cancerous tumor removed from his skull, despite the team’s medical staff downplaying the growth for six years. Williams was told that it was a minor condition and continued to play for the team. However, as the tumor continued to grow, he sought another opinion. That’s when Williams received a diagnosis of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, which is a rare, soft-tissue cancer. He underwent surgery this past offseason.

“I almost lost my life. Seriously, I almost lost my life,” Williams said. “You're 30 and coming off seven straight Pro Bowls and a doctor tells you to get your affairs in order. It's not going to sit well with you. It still doesn't. It's a scary thing to go through. Think how you describe to your 9-year-old, your 5-year old that daddy might not be here. It's tough.”

Williams, who hoped to play this week, failed his physical because he felt discomfort when he tried on his helmet.

A Secret Service special agent attempted a 100K race while battling stage 4 lung cancer. Rodney Wellman ran 43 miles of the roughly 62 miles in the race after being sidelined by severe cramping. Wellman, who never smoked, received a lung cancer diagnosis a year ago, after he thought he had a chest cold.

“I am here today to promote lung cancer awareness and to bring attention to the fact that lung cancer kills more Americans every year than any other cancer out there,” Wellman told CBS News.

A man on his way to his final chemotherapy treatment won a six-digit lottery prize. Ronnie Foster, of Pink Hill, North Carolina, purchased a dollar scratch-off ticket from a convenience store on his way to the hospital.

Foster, who is battling colon cancer, said he won $5 from that ticket and decided to use that winning to purchase a $5 ticket. At the last minute, he added one more $5 ticket to the mix and won a $200,000 prize.

“I saw all those zeroes, and I froze,” he said. After taxes, Foster took home $141,501. He plans to use his winnings to help pay his medical bills.

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