Gregg Passes Away Three Years After Colon Cancer Diagnosis
- Gregg Leakes has passed away at the age of 66 after a three-year battle with colon cancer. Gregg had stage 3 colon cancer in 2018, which is typically treated with chemotherapy and surgery.
- Surgery is one of best tools in the fight against colon cancer, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should undergo surgery.
- It can be overwhelming to talk through the process, but don’t be afraid to ask your surgeon any questions you might have — remember, they do this everyday. One of the most important things to ask about at the beginning is what the recovery will be like, because this is different for everyone.
“Today the Leakes family is in deep pain with a broken heart,” a spokesperson told SurvivorNet on Wednesday. “After a long battle with cancer, Gregg Leakes has passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by all of his children, very close loved ones, and wife NeNe Leakes.”Read More
Things had seemed to be going well in July when NeNe, 53, revealed that after six weeks in the hospital, Gregg was finally coming back home. Nene announced the news after one fan inquired why she was not appearing on The Talk in a previously scheduled appearance.
“I was [supposed] to be hosting The Talk today, but I got good news that Gregg was coming home after being hospitalized 6 weeks,” NeNe said on Twitter.
She did not elaborate beyond that until this weekend, when she shared some somber news about Gregg’s condition. That news came in response to a club-goer at the establishment, Linnethia Lounge, that she runs with her son, noting that Nene was not participating in a birthday celebration for one of the guests.
“My husband is transitioning to the other side,” she announced to the room before addressing the person who specifically called her out.
“You don’t know what we’re dealing with right now. We walked in this lounge because we had to walk in this lounge because this is our business,” she said. “So, when people approach and say, ‘You’re rude because you don’t want to say happy birthday,’ my husband is at home dying. I don’t want to say ‘Happy birthday,’ OK?”
Then, over the weekend she posted an image on Instagram that simply said: “BROKEN.”
View this post on Instagram
Gregg was first diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2018 and was hospitalized for close to three weeks. NeNe shared the news of his hospitalization on Instagram and later revealed it was cancer by snapping a photo of her husband at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“Our New Normal and the fight begins,” NeNe wrote on Instagram.
Things then seemed to go well for Gregg, who, thanks to an aggressive treatment plan, was able to appear alongside his wife on The Wendy Williams Show in September 2019 and announce that he was cancer free.
Then, in March, he posted lab results confirming he was still cancer free to Instagram.
Things took a turn, however, and in June, NeNe shared the news that Gregg had been diagnosed with the disease for a second time.
“Hey guys….I was really caught off guard in that interview when asked about Gregg! He’s a private person so i hadn’t said anything publicly (his wishes) (Only our circle really know details) and really sometimes it’s best that way because people just read into it whatever they want too and family, whew Chileeeeee i just can’t,” NeNe wrote on social media at the time.
“Gregg told me this morning he had 80 text messages and wanted to know what was wrong wit his phone. Thank you for your many prayers[,] text messages and calls.”
She closed out by saying: “PS: Gregg says to me, keep smiling.”
Gregg had previously shared the details of his cancer journey on social media in 2018, but hasn’t shared recent details.
How to Treat Colon Cancer
Surgery is one of best tools in the fight against colon cancer, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should undergo surgery.
If you are referred to a surgeon for your colon cancer, expect a conversation about the unique balance of risks and benefits that surgery would mean for you, Dr. Heather Yeo, colorectal surgeon at Weill Cornell in New York and a SurvivorNet medical advisor previously told SurvivorNet. It can be overwhelming to talk through the process, but don’t be afraid to ask your surgeon any questions you might have — remember, they do this everyday. One of the most important things to ask about at the beginning is what the recovery will be like, because this is different for everyone.
Generally, surgery is recommended for anyone with stage 1, 2 or 3 colon cancer — though stage 2 and 3 may require both surgery and chemotherapy. Even if surgery is successful at removing your cancer, there are always risks to surgery. If you hear the term “complications,” that can mean anything from an infection that’s treated with antibiotics to a problem with the surgery itself that requires another operation.
Colorectal Cancer Facts
Symptoms of colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, include:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that last for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that’s not relieved by having one
- Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
- Blood in the stool, which might make it look dark brown or black
- Cramping or abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Losing weight without trying
Since all of these issues can also be common symptoms for other illnesses, and sometimes aren’t always a cause for concern, it’s generally best to see a doctor to be on the safe side.
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Yeo discussed the top three myths associated with colon cancer and getting screened.
Myth #1: Colonoscopies are the only way to detect colon cancer.
The verdict: Not true. Though colonoscopies are the best way, there are a lot of other methods — like fecal occult blood tests (which look at a sample of your stool) and fecal immunochemical tests (FIT). “The [tests] have different roles and you should talk to a medical provider about what’s best for you, but there are a lot of options,” Dr. Yeo says.
Myth #2: Only people with a family history can get colon cancer.
The verdict: Not true. “In fact, the majority of people who get colon cancer have no family history,” Dr. Yeo says. “The reason I do the specialty is that if we screen patients early, cancers can be prevented. We can have really good survival outcomes and so I tell that to a lot of my patients. It’s important to have a positive outlook for that.”
Myth #3: Only people with symptoms need to screen.
The verdict: Absolutely not true. “The guidelines have recently changed because colon cancer has increased in people under the age of 50 … The American Cancer Society has recently recommended that we start screening at the age of 45,” Dr. Yeo says. And that means everybody.