Adjusting to Life After Cancer
- Veteran comedian Kathy Griffin, 61, may have returned to the stage, but she admitted to fans that she is ‘self-conscious’ about her voice, which has been greatly affected from her lung cancer surgery.
- The Grammy-winning comic recently performed her first set in Los Angeles since her August 2021 diagnosis. Thankfully, she was given the “all clear” in December, but like many cancer patients, she is left picking up the pieces from her battle wounds and side effects from treatment.
- It is important to know that 10 to 20 percent of lung cancers, or 20,000 to 40,000 lung cancers each year, happen in people who’ve never smoked like Griffin.
The Grammy-winning comic recently performed her first set in Los Angeles since her August 2021 diagnosis. Thankfully, she was given the “all clear” in December, but like many cancer patients, she is left picking up the pieces from her battle wounds and side effects from treatment.Read More
She was asked to roast the honoree, who was a “fantastic laugher” to Griffin’s delight, but when she first walked on stage and spoke in her “whisper” voice, some of the audience members began laughing.
” … they didn’t know about my situation,” she said of her cancer battle. “Then I explained it and they were kind of stunned for about two minutes. Then the most amazing thing happened. The audience, and granted this was a very forgiving and loving audience, actually adjusted to me! They became so quiet that they actually heard what I was saying through my poor little paralyzed left vocal chord after my cancer surgery.”
Griffin continued saying she would love to go back on tour, “but I just don’t know how strong my voice will ever be. Wish me luck! I’m doing all kinds of pathology lessons and all that other boring stuff so I can go back to projecting.”
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Kathy’s Lung Cancer Battle
Kathy Griffin, who rose to fame in 1996 on the sitcom Suddenly Susan with model Brooke Shields, has been very public about her cancer battle since her diagnosis. A stage 1 lung cancer diagnosis indicates that the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the body. It is important to note that Griffin is not a smoker.
The CDC actually 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.
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“Some lung cancers are from unknown exposure to air pollution, radon, or asbestos,” Dr. Raja Flores, system chair of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “We also see more never-smokers with lung cancer who have a family history of it.”
Griffin had surgery to treat her disease, which, as she shared, impacted her voice and her vocal chords, as lung cancer surgery can impact 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.
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
Be sure to alert with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms that don’t seem to be improving over the course of a week or two.