Published Apr 7, 2022
Kathy Griffin, 61, is in recovery from lung cancer and she’s back and better than ever! The comedian spoke with Interview magazine about her desire for recovery and diving back into her career after being sidelined temporarily by cancer.
The Malibu resident is married to Randy Bick, 43. She’s spoken about how living by the ocean in Malibu has helped with her recovery, too. Speaking with the magazine, Griffin says, “at 61, I’m just trying to get uncanceled, make a living again, and recover from f****** cancer.”
In the wide-ranging interview, the My Life on the D-List star addresses subjects like Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and more. The comedian is known for roasting celebrities and joking about A-listers, and she says she wants to be “uncanceled.” (Some people were upset with Griffin for a joke she made about a former U.S. president.)
“I’ve known guys like Joe my whole career,” she says, “and guys like that are best to stay away from. There are other people that can get in the arena with him,” she continues, saying that she wants to focus on her recovery.
Kathy Griffin was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021 and has been very public about her diagnosis and cancer battle. She’s a non-smoker and was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer. A stage 1 lung cancer diagnosis indicates that the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body.
Symptoms of lung cancer typically include:
Griffin had surgery to treat her disease, which, as she shares, 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.
Breathlessness is also normal after lung cancer surgery. Long-term pain can present as well. A study published by the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery examined the risk factors of vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) following lung cancer surgery in patients. The study found that 86–100% of patients reported hoarseness after surgery following RLN paralysis (a nerve injury that has the potential to occur after surgery for lung cancer). And in 45% of the patients studied, hoarseness was the only symptom of VCD after lung surgery.
Declining smoking rates have lead to an improved outlook for lung cancer since cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for the disease. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that cigarette smoking is linked to about 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths, and people who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who don’t smoke.
It’s important to remember, however, that even people like Kathy Griffin who’ve never smoked before can still get lung cancer. The CDC reports that in the United States, about 10 to 20 percent of lung cancers, or 20,000 to 40,000 lung cancers each year, happen in people who’ve never smoked.
“Some lung cancers are from unknown exposure to air pollution, radon, or asbestos,” Dr. Raja Flores, system chair of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai previously told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “We also see more never-smokers with lung cancer who have a family history of it.”
Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. It’s responsible for anywhere from 3 to 16 percent of cancer cases depending on the levels present in a given area, according to the World Health Organization, but smokers are still 25 times more at risk from radon than non-smokers.
Another possibility for the cause of lung cancer in a non-smoker can be second-hand smoke. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 7,000 adults die of lung cancer annually from breathing secondhand smoke. Air pollution, family history, HIV or AIDs can also all impact the chances of a non-smoker getting lung cancer. No matter what, it’s important to not rule out the disease just because you don’t smoke. And former and current smokers are recommended to screen for the disease.
SurvivorNet reporter Abigail Seaberg contributed to this article.