From Dick Vitale’s early melanoma cancer detection to the authorization of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for patients with cancer, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.
In an article penned by Dick Vitale for ESPN Front Row, the sports broadcaster, 82, revealed that he tested positive for melanoma after his health care provider removed some skin above his nose. He discovered the news while on a trip to Hawaii for his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Lorraine.
“On June 28, I went for my first surgery to have the growth removed from above my nose,” he wrote. “It helped that we caught it early, and I was thrilled to learn it hadn’t spread. The bottom line is they removed all cancer cells, and I was relieved, big time, to be cancer clear.”
Afterwards, he had to undergo four additional procedures to close up the area on his face. “We all know I’m never going to look like Tom Cruise,” he wrote.
Vitale, who has been a board member on the V Foundation for decades, is currently in the recovery stage and will be prepared to start his next season of commentary for ESPN college basketball games.
“Luckily, I took care of it when I did and I can’t stress enough that you all should do the same,” he added. “That’s how I’m going to achieve my goal of sitting courtside calling a game when I’m 100 years old!”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently authorized a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals after concerns about a recent uptick in breakthrough cases among those already vaccinated. States across the U.S. have begun to implement the booster shots for anyone with a moderately to severely compromised immune system who received both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Modern vaccine.
People in active treatment for cancer – with tumors or blood cancers – are qualified to receive the booster shot, according to the CDC.
A patient with leukemia, Dr. Raphael Pollock, received his third dose among other patients at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center this week. Pollock is also a cancer surgeon at the center.
”After I completed my two vaccination shots back in February of this year, I had my antibodies checked and they were very reactive,” Pollock told KFVS12. After six months, he had them checked again but they were no longer detectable, prompting him to stay home as a precaution and eventually get his booster shot.
“I would like to have the latitude of being able to go to the grocery store, instead of depending on my children to do that, or even just take a walk in the park and not feel like I might encounter something that could be dangerous to me,” he said.
Former U.S. congressman Paul Mitchell, a Republican from Michigan, died at age 64 from renal cancer. He leaves behind his wife, Sherry, and six children.
"Paul was an American,” Sherry said in a statement to CNN. “He was the embodiment of what we can be if we choose to love and fight for what matters. Paul loved with reckless abandon and would fiercely protect others whether they were family or strangers. You were worthy and loved and part of his flock."
Mitchell was elected to the St. Clair City, Michigan, council in 2008 after a long business career, before serving as the Michigan GOP finance chairman. He then had a successful U.S. House bid in 2016. He exited the Republican Party in 2020 after deciding not to seek reelection in response to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election.
"This party has to stand up for democracy first, for our Constitution first, and not political considerations,” he said. “Not to protect a candidate. Not simply for raw political power, and that's what I feel is going on and I've had enough."
A U.S. Marine from Halder, Wisconsin, Dawson Lang, surprised his younger sister, Madisyn, for her last cancer treatment this week. He surprised her at a softball game, where they hugged on the field as members of the community cheered them on.
Lang had to leave for boot camp while Madisyn was in treatment for leukemia, a diagnosis she received in 2019. They had not seen each other for six months prior to the surprise.
“It was very hard being away from her,” Lang told WSAW-TV, “so finally being able to see her and give her a hug was very nice.”
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.