Working During Lung Cancer
- Long-time Pittsburgh sports reporter Stan Savran is battling lung cancer. He said he would continue working because it would be “therapeutic” for him.
- Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer. And diagnosis and treatment of the disease can be tricky since symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer has spread.
- Staying positive during cancer treatment can help you achieve better health outcomes. So, whether that means continuing to work, taking up a new hobby or making time for friends, it’s important to prioritize your mental health.
Savran, 74, has been a staple of the local sports scene since he came to Pittsburgh in January 1976. Nowadays, he hosts a weekday ESPN talk show Savran On Sports – the bio of which dubs him as “the Godfather of Pittsburgh Sports.” In a recent episode, he shared the news of his cancer diagnosis on the air saying he was “doing great” but still feeling the effects from his second treatment late last week. He added that he wouldn’t be taking a pause on work calling it “therapeutic.”Read More
“No one I’ve met in my time in radio & I mean NO ONE is tougher than Stan,” comedian and radio personality Bill Crawford tweeted. “His work ethic, genuine enthusiasm for sports talk & general badassery is a got-damn inspiration. He’s gonna kick cancer’s ass while taking calls & doing shows. Turn the mic on & keep it on @StanLoveTheShow”
Savran also followed his announcement with a Facebook post.
“As I said on the air, I hadn’t planned to make my lung cancer diagnosis public,” he wrote. “But when it began to bubble under the surface, I thought it best to share. The road will be a tough one…it already has been after just a couple of chemotherapy treatments. But I’m tolerating it and dealing with it as best I can.
“Medical issues are nothing new to me, and I will fight this like I have all the others. with your support, I WILL beat this. And I will NEVER slow down my work schedule during this, and promise I will be here to do our show each and every day. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. You are my family.”
Understanding Lung Cancer
Lung cancer, the second most common type of cancer, is the leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the United States. Diagnosis and treatment of the disease can be tricky since symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer has spread. An initial symptom, for example, could be as serious as a seizure if the lung cancer has already spread to the brain. But other symptoms can include increased coughing, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, wheezing, losing your voice or persistent infections like bronchitis or pneumonia.
The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell, which makes up 85 percent of cases, and small-cell. These types act differently and, accordingly, require different types of treatment. Dr. Patrick Forde, a thoracic oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet about how distinguishing between the two types – and their subtypes – could be very beneficial.
“Within that non-small cell category, there’s a subtype called non-squamous adenocarcinoma, and that’s the group of patients for whom genetic testing is very important on the tumor,” he explains. “Genetic testing is looking for mutations in the DNA, in the tumor, which are not present in your normal DNA.”
Living with Cancer
Life doesn’t slow down for a cancer diagnosis, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Like we’ve seen in the case of Savran, it’s important to remember that a cancer diagnosis does not mean the end of your life. In fact, our experts say that prioritizing your overall wellbeing and continuing to do the things that you love can be very beneficial because studies have shown that patients who are able to stay upbeat and positive often have better treatment outcomes.
According to Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecological oncologist at Arizona Center for Cancer Care, it doesn’t even really matter what you do – as long as it makes you happy. So, if that means continuing to give the sports lowdown for Pittsburgh locals like Savran, then that’s exactly what you should do.
“We know from good studies that emotional health is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better outcomes,” Chase previously told SurvivorNet. “So working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment [and] your emotional well-being are important and can impact your survival. If that’s related to what activities you do that bring you joy, then you should try to do more of those activities.”
Dr. Geoffrey Oxnard, a thoracic oncologist, also shared his tips for living with cancer. Here are three things he tells his lung cancer patients about living with the disease:
- Don’t act sick – “You can’t mope around,” he said. “Do things, and in doing things, you will stay active.”
- Don’t lose weight – “Eat what you need to do to not lose weight,” he said. “I like my patients pleasantly plump.”
- Don’t be a tough guy – “When you’ve got lung cancer, you need work with your doctor to keep your medical conditions under control.”