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Kathy Bates, Patrick Swayze, and Nip/Tuck talk about cancer
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman placed on the high court and currently the only woman serving, was diagnosed with early-stage pancreatic cancer shortly after the presidential inauguration and underwent surgery on February 5. She returned to work on February 23.
Ginsburg, 75, was successfully treated for colorectal cancer in September 1999—and she never missed a day on the bench. At a women’s health research dinner in 2001, Ginsburg said, “There is nothing like a cancer bout to make one relish the joys of being alive. It is as though a special, zestful spice seasons my work and days. Each thing I do comes with a heightened appreciation that I am able to do it.”
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates recently went public with her ovarian cancer experience on NBC’s Today show on January 9. She has been in remission for more than five years now, and has joined forces with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Bates filmed a public service announcement about ovarian cancer and its symptoms, which aired in New York City taxi cabs during the last week of September 2008, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. View the public service announcement at www.youtube.com/user/ovariancancerorg.
Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006, actress and singer Eartha Kitt, 81, died of the disease on December 25, 2008. Kitt performed on Broadway, in cabarets, movies, and television but may be best known for playing Catwoman in the 1960s TV series Batman. During her more than 60-year career Kitt won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for several Tony Awards and Grammys.
Comedian and non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor Robert Schimmel’s new special, Life Since Then, premiered January 14 on Showtime. The title refers to Schimmel’s life since June 5, 2000, when he was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Schimmel also has a humorous take on his cancer in his book Cancer on $5 a Day (*chemo not included): How Humor Got Me Through the Toughest Journey of My Life. Read CURE’s review here.
Pancreatic cancer survivor Patrick Swayze’s new A&E cable network series The Beast premiered January 15. Swayze, 56, worked while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for his stage 4 cancer, missing only one day of work while filming the season’s 13 episodes, according to the show’s producers. Swayze and his wife, Lisa Niemi, plan to write a book of his memoirs.
On January 10, cancer survivor and Northern State University basketball coach Don Meyer surpassed Bob Knight to become the winningest coach in men’s college basketball, with 903 wins in his 37-year career. This came just four months after Meyer, 64, was diagnosed with a slow-growing form of carcinoid cancer in his liver and lower bowels, which was only discovered after a life-threatening car accident.
FX Network’s series Nip/Tuck drew attention to male breast cancer in its fifth season, when Dr. Christian Troy, a plastic surgeon played by Julian McMahon, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. The show follows Troy through surgery, chemotherapy, and body image issues.
Charlie Kelley, 40, of the Grammy-nominated polka duo the Boxhounds was still in the hospital recovering from colon cancer surgery when he learned of the nomination for best polka album in December. Though he didn’t win, Kelley still has a lot to be thankful for. Kelley’s diagnosis came shortly after his wife, cable TV’s Great American Country personality Nan Kelley, 43, returned to work full time after undergoing treatment for early-stage Hodgkin disease. Both are now in remission and organizing a project to raise money for the Colon Cancer Alliance and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ fund. They plan to hold the first fundraiser this spring in Nashville.
Cancer survivor Army Lt. Col. Jaime Martinez led soldiers of the Army’s oldest infantry regiment, the Old Guard, in the presidential inauguration ceremony on January 20, something he wasn’t sure he would live to see. Just eight months earlier, Martinez, 44, was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer—a disease that is uncommon in the United States. He took command of the Old Guard in October while he was still undergoing treatment.