When Health and Political Beliefs Conflict
- Conservative talk show host and cancer survivor Dan Bongino has continued to dominate the air waves, still going strong despite recently threatening to go off the air over Cumulus Media’s vaccine mandates, though he is fully vaccinated.
- The outspoken former NYPD officer and secret service agent has attracted millions of listeners (reportedly around 8.5 million per week which makes him the fourth most listened to host in America), and even gets constant press from the “liberal media” who are far from fans.
- Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. It is typically classified as either Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The distinction between the two has to do with a person’s white blood cells linked to the disease.
Bongino currently holds the coveted noon-to-three daily slot that the late Rush Limbaugh—a fellow Conservative—held.Read More
There was a lengthy profile in The New Yorker on the polarizing commentator, who almost quit his radio show due to Cumulus Media’s vaccine mandate. He is fully vaccinated, but does not believe in being forced to get the vaccine, and has said he is sticking up for colleagues who want to be given a choice.
“You can have me, or you can have the mandate, but you can’t have both,” he said in the fall, threatening to stop his three-hour Cumulus Media show— which launched in March—if the health requirements persisted. After taking a week-and-a-half off, it appeared that there was some type of negotiation with the broadcast giant.
He said that Cumulus had made “some concessions” but did not share details. “We’re at a stalemate here,” he admitted. “We basically got guns to each other’s heads.”
The New Yorker piece noted multiple times how amped up and visibly upset Bongino has gotten about COVID-related topics, including mask mandates for children. They did note that in one video, he checked himself and referenced his cancer.
“My apologies,” he said. “I don’t mean this to sound rambling.” He explained that his experience with cancer had “heightened his sense of the stakes.” It “put horse blinders on me to see what really matters,” he said. “The fight is all that matters, and it’s all that should matter to you.”
Lucky for his fans, Bongino has a top advocate in his corner to help talk him off a ledge.
When a recent guest asked if he has always been this competitive and passionate, Bongino explained that it is actually his wife Paula who charts his engagement. “She’ll be, like, ‘Dude, you are slaying it today,’” he shared. “Because she has these metrics on the Excel spreadsheet.”
In a recent interview with SurvivorNet, Bongino shared what a special woman he has in his life, how supportive she was during his cancer fight, and how supportive she still is as he navigates life after cancer.
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“She’s the best. She runs my entire business, my wife. It really is all her. All I have to do is go on the air and talk, I don’t have to do anything,” he said of his partner of 20 years. “She runs the administrative side, the accounting side, the HR side, the investment side, she really runs everything.”
Dan’s Cancer Battle
Bongino’s listeners follow him as closely as his wife tracks the show’s success. In fall of 2020, a top fan—who happened to be an oncology nurse—noticed a lump on the right-wing host’s neck while he was on camera and urged him to go get it checked out.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, and underwent chemotherapy and radiation, along with removal of the seven-centimeter tumor. Fortunately, Bongino was given the “all-clear” in March.
Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. It is typically classified as either Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The distinction between the two has to do with a person’s white blood cells linked to the disease. If doctors are unable to detect the Reed-Sternberg cell (a giant cell derived from B lymphocytes), then it is categorized as non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
However, if Reed-Sternberg cells are present, the lymphoma is diagnosed as Hodgkin lymphoma. In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Elise Chong, a medical oncologist at Penn Medicine, says lymphoma symptoms can be difficult to detect, and thus can lead to a late diagnosis. “The symptoms of lymphoma, especially if you have a low-grade lymphoma, often are no symptoms. People say, but I feel completely fine, and that’s very normal,” explains Dr. Chong.
Treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma may include chemotherapy, radiation, and in some cases stem-cell transplant.
Bongino’s treatment plan included chemotherapy and radiation, he said in an earlier interview with SurvivorNet.
A big martial arts guy, Bongino has always taken good care of himself. So the news rattled him.
“I’m a 45-year-old guy who’s 6’1, 225 pounds. The first person I called was my mom,” he shared with SurvivorNet. “I didn’t know what else to do. I just kind of broke down a bit,” Bongino said. “The first thing you do is you ask questions. I said to my mother, ‘I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I’ve never done a drug in my entire life ever. Not one time. I work out five days a week.’ I eat clean as a whistle and there’s zero – not a little, but zero – cancer in my family.”
Whether you love him or hate him for his political views, Bongino has done a lot to bring awareness to this type of cancer, inspiring many survivors in the cancer community.
Many people question the COVID vaccine—and vaccines in general—but experts are overall in agreement that the positives—preventing extreme illness or death—outweigh any potential unknown future side effects.