Battling Throat Cancer
- Longtime “Pokemon” voice actor James Carter Cathcart, is retiring after 26 years on the show as his battle with throat cancer calls for more intensive treatment.
- Cathcart’s new round of treatments will include radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- Throat cancer is cancer that develops in your throat or voice box.
- Receiving a life-altering diagnosis impacts the patient and their loved ones, especially their spouse or partner.
- It’s important for couples to keep good communication during the journey. And caregivers should be sure to prioritize their own physical and mental health too.
Longtime “Pokemon” voice actor James Carter Cathcart, is retiring after 26 years with the show as his battle with throat cancer calls for more intensive treatment.
Cathcart, 69, has been a staple of the “Pokemon” cartoon series and can be heard in 716 episodes dating back to 1997 when it began. Cathcart voiced “James” and several other characters on the show. He also lent his voice to countless other Pokemon and cartoon shows and movies over the years like “Yu-Gi-Oh!”.Read More
James Cathcart had been undergoing treatment, which included induction chemotherapy, but the tumor did not respond to the treatment. “A more aggressive chemo approach was necessary,” Martha said in an updated blog post. The famed voice actor’s cancer journey will now include a new round of treatments, which will include radiation therapy and chemotherapy. To keep up with more aggressive treatments, James and his wife decided to step away from their careers to prioritize the cancer battle. WATCH: Radiation Simulation Preparing for Radiation Treatment. “Jimmy has decided to retire from script adapting and voice dubbing for Pokemon USA, effective at the conclusion of Season 25. He has been with the series since the 1st episode, so it is a timely decision as the series transitions to new characters and storylines,” Martha said.
James Carter Cathcart, who provided voices for Professor Oak, Gary Oak, James, and Meowth in the Pokémon anime, is retiring from voice acting after 25 years due to an advanced form of cancer that has spread to his throat. pic.twitter.com/eqWDrwfS0c— IGN (@IGN) April 19, 2023
Martha, being the supportive spouse that she is, also resigned from her position at International University for Graduate Studies to help her husband during his cancer battle, though she’ll be continuing other work.
Understanding Throat Cancer
Throat cancer is cancer that develops in your throat or voice box. There are different types of throat cancer, according to Mayo Clinic, which include:
- Nasopharyngeal cancer, which begins in the part of your throat behind your nose
- Oropharyngeal cancer, which begins in the part of the throat behind your mouth
- Hypopharyngeal cancer, also called laryngopharyngeal cancer, which begins in the lower part of your throat
- Glottic cancer, which begins in the vocal cords
- Supraglottic cancer, which begins in the upper part of the voice box
- Subglottic cancer, which begins in the lower part of the voice box
The two most common throat cancer types are laryngopharyngeal cancer and oropharyngeal cancer, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Throat Cancer Risk Factors and Symptoms
Mayo Clinic says risk factors that can increase your risk of throat cancer include:
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol use
- Viral infections including human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus.
- Exposure to toxic substances
Throat cancer symptoms depend on where the cancer develops in the throat, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center. But signs include:
- Hoarseness or changes in your voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent sore throat
- Ear pain
- Lump in the neck
- Breathing problems
- Unexplained weight loss
Supporting A Loved One Battling Cancer
James Cathcart and his wife Martha are still relatively early on their cancer journey but what may help James is knowing he has Martha’s unyielding support. Her willingness to leave her career to ensure her husband’s health battle is successful is a trend quite common among cancer warriors.
We have seen other couples choosing to fight their cancer diagnosis in tandem, including “Good Morning America” news anchor Robin Roberts and her partner Amber Laign.
“Today” weatherman Al Roker and his wife Deborah Roberts also publicly battled his prostate cancer together. Roker said, “Knowing that Debroah was there was the greatest source of comfort.”
Receiving a life-altering diagnosis impacts the patient and their loved ones, especially their spouse or partner.
MacMillan Cancer Support, a charity that advocates for cancer patients says communication is a vital tool in helping support a partner with cancer and it could help a couple understand each other better.
“It can help to ask your partner what support they would like and find useful. This makes sure you help where it is most wanted and needed. It can also help you avoid misunderstandings,” the charity said.
The charity also advises partners to allow a loved one who is dealing with a disease to feel as if they are “still in control.”
So it’s important to allow someone who’s battling cancer to have some control of things like family issues, their own care, and finances.
For spouses and partners who assume a caregiver role for their beloved cancer warriors, SurvivorNet experts recommend being involved but also don’t forget about yourself.
Dr. Jayanthi Lea, a gynecologic oncologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet, “I encourage caregivers to come into visits with my patients because, in that way, the caregiver is also listening to the recommendations — what should be done in between these visits, any changes in treatment plans, any toxicities [side effects] that we need to look out for, changes in dietary habits, exercise.”
If you are a caregiver of a cancer warrior, it is important to maintain your own mental and physical health as well.
More on Throat Cancer
- ‘Below Deck’ Reality Star Tony Drewitt-Barlow Is Focusing On Future Plans With Family Despite Ongoing Throat Cancer Battle
- ‘RHOC’ Star & Cancer Warrior Tamra Judge Says Her Ex Simon Barney Is ‘Doing OK’ In His Brave Throat Cancer Battle
- “Top Gun” Star Val Kilmer, 59, Makes Rare Public Appearance With Neck Covered By Scarf And Binoculars After Brave Battle With Throat Cancer
- ‘Exhausted’ Mom, 52, Had Sore Throat Doctors Said Was ‘Acid Reflux:’ Then She Had An ‘Eggplant-Sized Tumor’ In Her Chest And Was Fighting Cancer
Caregivers must also watch out for “caregiver burnout” where stress, anger, fatigue, and illness emerge from putting another person’s needs ahead of their own.
Caregivers who find themselves struggling to care for a cancer warrior should seek out a therapist, or a support group of their own either online or in person.
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