Stronger Every Day After Cancer
- Outspoken comedian Kathy Griffin, 61, has been giving fans generous updates of her complications after surviving lung cancer, along with more and more fun, silly pics —which signify to fans that she is healing.
- The hilarious star, a non-smoker, beat the disease after getting diagnosed at stage 1 last August.
- Stage 1 lung cancer indicates that the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body, therefore much easier to treat.
“Power lunch w @blaire.erskine Stop looking at us!!!” she captioned an adorably fun pic in Los Angeles with pal Blaire Erskine, 30, a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live!.Read More
View this post on Instagram
“Kathy you style queen I’m loving the leewwks,” one fan complimented. “Lewk” is a modern-day social media word for a fashion “look.” Another supporter chimed in saying, “Happy to see that you’re on the mend,” which seems evident by the Grammy winner’s recent photos.
“You look like a Big movie star!” wrote another positive online pal. “Hey! When are you & Cher doing a movie together?”
Meanwhile, when she’s not being “seen” or performing on stage, Griffin has been enjoying doing regular normal people things like scarfing down burgers, a luxury she took for granted prior to cancer.
“Don’t judge,” she joked, with half of the burger in her mouth.
View this post on Instagram
In all seriousness though, Griffin—who has been married to marketing exec Randy Bick, 43, since 2020—had recently shared that she was having some swallowing issues due to her surgery complications. Naturally, her sexual jokes ensued, but this burger moment surely meant more to her behind the jesting, as it means her throat is healing.
It’s wonderful that Griffin can joke about her cancer battle and recovery, but the humor also comes from a real vulnerability, and we appreciate the Chicago-born actress sharing it with the world.
Kathy’s Lung Cancer Battle
While Griffin prefers to approach her cancer battle with a “vulgar” humor, what she went through was quite serious, but thankfully doctors caught the disease at an early stage.
Griffin, a non-smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021 and was just as public about her diagnosis and cancer battle while going through it as she is now. The New York Times Bestselling author was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer, which indicates that the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body.
Dr. Patrick Forde from Johns Hopkins Medicine educated SurvivorNet on important questions to ask following a lung cancer diagnosis:
- Ask about the type of lung cancer
- Ask about the stage of the cancer
- If the cancer is metastatic or stage 4, ask about the genetic mutation results and also the PD-L1 testing
- The PD-L1 test is a “simple test” that involves staining a sample of the tumor with a marker for PD-L1. The lab gives the tumor a percent expression score ranging from from zero where none of the cells have PD-L1 expression and up to 100 percent where all of the cells have PD-L1 expression.
Learning More About Lung Cancer
After a lung cancer diagnosis, the patient is understandably in a state of shock. That’s why it’s important to go through the steps clearly with your doctor, and preferably have someone with you that you trust to help take notes and help you understand the process.
First, your medical team will stage the cancer with imaging, a CT scan is typical, along with an MRI, and also MRI scan of the brain. Your medical team will then need to get a sample of the tumor biopsy, and perform some routine tests. The most important is the PD-L1 test, which helps direct the use of immunotherapy, but also more complicated testing looking for gene mutations in the tumor.
“There are two main types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, which is about 85% of lung cancers, and small cell lung cancer, which is about 15%,” Dr. Forde said. “Within that non-small cell category, there’s a subtype called non-squamous adenocarcinoma, and that’s the group of patients for whom genetic testing is very important on the tumor. Genetic testing is looking for mutations in the DNA, in the tumor, which are not present in your normal DNA.”
Additionally, Dr. Forde noted that non-smokers should make sure genetic testing is performed before going directly on immunotherapy.
Symptoms of lung cancer typically include:
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Constant coughing that becomes painful over time
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in voice or difficulty speaking without getting winded
- Pain in the torso, mid- and upper-back, and shoulders
- Discoloration or a sudden change in color of mucus and saliva
- Griffin had surgery to treat her disease, which, as she has shared, impacted her voice and her vocal chords. Lung cancer surgery impacts the body in various ways. It may cause fatigue, leaving the patient feeling weak and tired. There’s also the risk of infection after surgery.
- Signs of infection after lung cancer surgery can include: shivering, feeling nauseous, swelling or redness around the surgical wound, and fluctuating temperature. Speak with your doctor if you experience any of these things.