Edward Kennedy and Sydney Pollack.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), 76, was diagnosed with glioma, a malignant brain tumor, after suffering a seizure in mid-May. The tumor, located in the front left lobe, may impact Kennedy’s speech and motor abilities. First elected in 1962, he is serving his eighth term in office and is the second-longest serving senator currently in Congress.
Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack, 73, died of cancer May 26. Pollack, who directed, produced, and acted in many well-known films, including Out of Africa, Tootsie, and most recently Michael Clayton, was undergoing treatment after being diagnosed in late 2007. Doctors were unable to determine where the cancer originated.
Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and has been receiving chemotherapy and the experimental drug, vatalanib, at Stanford University Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California. Swayze’s physician said in a statement that the 55-year-old actor has a limited amount of disease and has responded well to treatment.
Swayze, 55, completed filming an A&E pilot last December called The Beast, which may become a new drama series on the network next season. He also stars in the independent film Powder Blue, expected to be released this year.
Canadian blues and jazz icon Jeff Healey died of metastatic cancer March 2 at age 41. After a rare form of childhood cancer called retinoblastoma left Healey blind as a baby, he taught himself how to play the guitar. Healey died just weeks before the release of his tenth album, Mess of Blues.
Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on HBO’s Sex and the City, disclosed in April that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 while starring in the off-Broadway show The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Nixon, 42, successfully completed treatment and is now a spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Sen. Arlen Specter
Diagnosed with a recurrence of Hodgkin’s disease in April, (R-Pennsylvania), 78, says it won’t stop him from running for re-election in 2010. First diagnosed in 2005, Specter recently published Never Give In: Battling Cancer in the Senate in which he details his six months of treatment while working full time in the Senate.