‘I Need To Be Vulgar!’ Kathy Griffin Shares Her Post-Cancer Complications With Some NSFW Humor

Published Apr 14, 2022

Marisa Sullivan

Laughter as Medicine

  • Comedian Kathy Griffin, 61, shared how important it is for her to find vulgar humor in the complications she’s been facing after beating lung cancer.
  • The survivor just recently returned to the stage and is fighting through the effects of surgery on her voice to continue to live her passion: making people laugh.
  • Lung cancer symptoms can include: Sudden and unexplained weight loss, constant coughing that becomes painful over time, shortness of breath, and changes in your voice or difficulty speaking without getting winded

Outspoken comedian Kathy Griffin, 61, is taking followers along on her life journey after beating lung cancer, and we’re definitely here for it!

When it comes to cancer, there is no such thing as “oversharing,” as other patients can always benefit from learning what to expect and getting more educated on the disease and its complications. Plus, cancer awareness is always cool.

The Los Angeles-based comic posted about having a procedure called a gastric emptying study, which is a test “to determine the time is takes a meal to move through a person’s stomach,” according to Cleveland Clinic.

“Good morning friends. Today I go to the hospital for a four hour test called a ‘gastric emptying study.’ Don’t you love that name? They give me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which has radioactive material in it. Did you guys get that???”

Related: ‘I’m One and a Half Lungs, Honey!’ Kathy Griffin, 61, Says She’s ‘Trying to Come Back’ From ‘Very Odd’ Lung Cancer Surgery Complications

She said that her team is monitoring her due to “complications swallowing” after her cancer surgery. “And if Mrs. Kathy’s gonna get back to given the husband a BJ she’s gonna work on her swallowing,” she joked about wanting to get back to oral sex.




As a comic, Griffin can find the humor (and vulgarity!) in just about anything, which is an important reminder for all of us to get through tough days. And sharing invokes caring! In this case from the Grammy winner’s celebrity friends, who can see through the humor and offer kind words for what she’s going through.

Related: Kathy Griffin At 61: ‘I’m Just Trying to Get Uncanceled, Make a Living Again, and Recover from…Cancer!’

Fellow comedian Rosie O’Donnell commented with “I love u griffin,” while actress Debra Messing wrote “Sending you love and healing!”

The survivor also recently shared that she recently returned to the stage and was a bit “self-conscious” about her whispery voice, that many audience members at the charity event she performed at thought it was part of her schtick at first until she explained what it was from: her surgery. She admitted in the post that she wasn’t sure if she will be back on the touring circuit.

Related: Kathy Griffin Says She’s Still Struggling With Her Voice After Lung Cancer Surgery: ‘I’m Very Self-Conscious’

Luckily, the brave entertainer has since announced another gig coming up April 21 as a moderator for Randy Rainbow’s book tour.

Admitting your fears and still pushing forward to combat them—while making us laugh along the way—is about as inspiring as it comes. Thank you, Kathy!

‘The Big C’ on SNTV: Laughter as Medicine & Tough Subjects for Cancer Survivors

Kathy’s Lung Cancer Battle

Kathy Griffin 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. She’s a non-smoker and 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.

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.

Understanding Lung Cancer

To get a basic knowledge of this disease, understand that there are two main types of lung cancer. The specific type will chart the course for their treatment plan, as well as the cancer’s predicted progression. In the case of Kathy Griffin, although she never smoked, she was diagnosed with stage 1 cancer and because it was confined to her left lung, she was able to have half of it removed.

Related: Lung Cancer Survivor Reina Honts Is Fighting Back Against the Stigma: ‘You Have The Power To Change Your Future’

Griffin didn’t share what type of lung cancer she has. The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common and makes up about 85% of cases, and then there’s small cell lung cancer, which is less common, but tends to grow faster than non-small cell, and it is treated very differently.

Take it From a Guy Who Looks at Diseased Lungs Every Day — Stop Smoking

And as previously stated, lung cancer has been directly linked to cigarette smoking and is the number one risk factor for developing this type of cancer.

“If you’re smoking, don’t smoke,” Dr. Joseph Friedberg, head of thoracic surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet. “You never return down all the way to the (level of) the person who never smoked as far as your risk of lung cancer goes, but it goes down with time.”

Related: Single Mother, 36, Thought Persistent Cough Was COVID-19; She Was Diagnosed With Advanced Lung Cancer Despite Never Smoking

But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop lung cancer if you don’t smoke cigarettes, like Griffin. In fact, 20% of people who die from lung cancer in the U.S. each year have never smoked or have never used any other form of tobacco.

We say that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, regardless if you’ve ever smoked or not.

Contributing by SurvivorNet staff.


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