Ronnie Spector Dies After Brief Spell With Cancer, Man Continues His Personal Health Advocacy After a Stranger Helped Discover His Cancer and More

From the deaths of singer Ronnie Spector and famed cancer researcher Beatrice Mintz to a patient who became his own biggest advocate after a stranger noticed a suspicious spot on his back, here’s what’s happening in the cancer landscape this week.

Ronnie Spector died shortly after receiving a diagnosis of cancer.

Ronnie Spector, rock and roll singer and leader of musical group “The Ronettes,” died at age 78 this week. According to her family, Spector had cancer shortly before her death.

Spector’s musical group was known for several hits from the 1960s, including “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up” and “Walking in the Rain.” They toured England with The Rolling Stones and befriended the Beatles as they rose to success.

In a statement, her family said that “Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude.”

Family, friends and other musicians paid tribute to Spector on social media.

“I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector, and I don’t know what to say. I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever,” said musician and producer Brian Wilson, via Twitter.

Rock singer and songwriter Joan Jett wrote, “Our dear friend Ronnie Spector has passed. She was the sweetest person you could ever know. And her mark on rock and roll is indelible.”

“The voice of a million teenage dreams including mine,” said songwriter and producer Diane Warren in a tweet.

Spector was survived by two children — Jason and Austin — as well as her husband, Jonathan Greenfield.

Influential cancer researcher Beatrice Mintz died at age 100.

Beatrice Mintz, known for her trailblazing discoveries in the field of cancer research, died this week at age 100.

Mintz died from heart failure as a result of dementia, according to her executor and a colleague at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia — where she was employed for over 60 years.

Mintz was an embryologist, and her notable findings included the discovery that certain cancerous cells could be restrained by interaction with normal neighboring cells without having to use chemotherapy and radiation.

“She made foundational discoveries and revolutionized many tools and techniques of molecular biology that paved the way for tremendous progress in our understanding of cancer,” said Dr. Margaret Foti, chief executive of the American Association for Cancer Research, in a statement.

Her discoveries also helped researchers learn more about the complexities of cancer. Her work with reverting cancer cells to a benign state by using normal cells is now mimicked in many therapy regimens used in patients with cancer today.

Mintz has no immediate family surviving her after her death.

A patient with cancer was ridiculed by a judge for his overgrown property, which violated a city ordinance.

A 72-year-old man in Hamtramck, MI, had to face the court because that he had violated a city ordinance by not clearing his overgrown plants.

According to WDIV-Local, an exchange between the defendant and the judge has drawn a great deal of criticism on social media.

The 31st District Judge Alexis G. Krot told him, “You should be ashamed of yourself. Have you seen that photo? That is shameful.”

The defendant expressed to the judge that he has cancer in his lymph nodes — which he was diagnosed with in 2019 — and is too weak to clear the plants on his own.

“I usually take care of the stuff in the backyard and everything, but that time I was out of the country,” the man’s son, Shibbir Chowdhury, said.

Krot also told him, “If I could give you jail time on this I would.”

The property has now been cleared by his family and they plan to pay the $100 fine.

A stranger’s act of kindness helped a man discover his cancer. In turn, the man became his own biggest health advocate

Matthew Arnett explained to the Kare11 Sunrise news station that he discovered he had cancer in quite a unique way: through a stranger who happened to be an oncologist pointing it out to him on the beach.

Arnett, a frequent traveler and nature-lover, was on a cruise 14 years ago when a woman approached him in the Florida Keys.

"She started off by introducing herself a little and saying, 'This is a little awkward, but I’m an oncologist, and on the beach, I noticed something on your back, and you really should have that checked when you get back home,'" he explained.

When he took her advice, a dermatologist did a biopsy of the mole and discovered that it was malignant. He later had it excised.

Now, he explained that the whole experience led him to becoming diligent about his health screenings, especially with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.

"Being a guy, you start getting your PSAs," Arnett said. "They checked Gleason scores. And my Gleason scores were high enough where we had to decide what plan of action to take."

He underwent radiation for 44 days and said that his experiences have led him to appreciate life’s important moments more, including his daughter’s wedding.

"I got to be there. I got my daddy-daughter dance," he said.

He also added that without the oncologist who stepped up and told him to get the mole checked, he may not have had the chance to treat it properly and become an advocate for his own health.

"Don't let COVID interrupt your health. You really need to get back in the cadence of seeing a doctor," he said. "I just can’t imagine not having some of the moments that I’ve had between then and now and in the future."

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