Finding Normalcy After Cancer
- Actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci is starring in the new action series “Citadel” on Amazon Prime Video, six years after being diagnosed with tongue cancer.
- A tumor was discovered on Tucci’s tongue in 2017, and he underwent radiation and chemotherapy for treatment. It temporarily impaired his taste buds, and he had to use a feeding tube for six months.
- The diagnosis was especially hard for the father of five, after his first wife, Kate Spath-Tucci, passed away at age 47 in 2009 from breast cancer.
- For many cancer survivors, getting back to life as it once was after hearing they have “no evidence of disease” isn’t easy. Survivor CC Webster said she allowed herself time to process the trauma of cancer in order to move forward in a healthy way.
The 62-year-old host of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” has taken on the role of Bernard Orlick, a character searching for former top agents to save the world.Read More
Tucci (Bernard Orlick) stars in the series alongside, Richard Madden (Mason Kane), Priyanka Chopra (Nadia Sinh), Lesley Manville (Dahlia Archer), Osy Ikhile (Carter Spence), Ashleigh Cummings (Abby Conroy), Davik Silje Caoilinn Springall (Hendrix Conroy), and Roland Møller (Anders Silje).
The $185 million budget series, according to Variety, was first thought of by Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke, who initially reached out to directors Joe and Anthony Russo in regard to producing a spy show.
“The mission here was to was to bring large-scale spy storytelling to Amazon,” Joe Russo said at a recent press event.
The TV series is summarized by IMDB as, “Global spy agency Citadel has fallen, and its agents’ memories were wiped clean. Now the powerful syndicate, Manticore, is rising in the void. Can the Citadel agents recollect their past and summon the strength to fight back?”
Tucci’s Cancer Journey
Tucci opened up about having cancer in a 2021 interview, revealing a tumor was discovered on the base of his tongue after two years of experiencing pain in his jaw.
To beat the disease, Tucci underwent rounds of both chemotherapy and radiation treatment in 2017.
And for the popular food lover, he struggled with how his cancer changed his sense of taste and ability to eat as he always had. In an interview with Vera, Tucci recounted using a feeding tube for six months, and feeling weak and fatigued.
“The kids were great, but it was hard for them,” Tucci told Vera. “I had a feeding tube for six months. I could barely make it to the twins’ high school graduation.”
He spoke with the New York Times about how his radiation treatment affected his tastebuds, according to Deadline.
Tucci described food as tasting like cardboard “slathered with someone’s excrement” and feeling worried he would never taste again.
“I mean, if you can’t eat and enjoy food, how are you going to enjoy everything else?” Tucci, whose taste eventually came back, questioned.
Still, Tucci said his cancer journey made him stronger and wiser.
“[Cancer] makes you more afraid and less afraid at the same time,” Tucci said. “I feel much older than I did before I was sick. But you still want to get ahead and get things done.”
The diagnosis was especially hard on the father of five — whose first wife, Kate Spath-Tucci, passed away of breast cancer in 2009. Though her journey initially made him fear treatment for his own cancer, he knew he had to be there for his kids.
Understanding Tongue Cancer
According to the National Institute of Cancer, “Tongue cancer is relatively rare, representing nearly 1% of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the United States.”
Get the Facts: HPV Can Cause Cancer in Men Too
A significant number of tongue cancer patients obtain the disease from the flat squamous cells that line the tongue. When the cells start splitting into a “cluster of abnormal cells” a tumor is created, as per the Cancer Center.
Tongue cancer is often associated with heavy alcohol and tobacco usage and also connected with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
“This disease primarily affected older men in the past, but rates among women and younger people have risen in recent decades—and it’s thought HPV infection is partially responsible,” the center explains. “HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, infecting nearly all sexually active people. Some strains cause genital warts. Others have been linked to cancers of the cervix, genitals, anus, mouth and throat.”
Returning to Normalcy After Cancer
Following his cancer battle, Tucci’s TV show “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” on CNN was a monumental moment for him as it meant his life was getting back to normal — especially for a foodie who battled tounge cancer.
Follow That Fire: Life After Cancer Will be Different, That Doesn’t Have to be a Bad Thing
For many cancer survivors, like Tucci, getting back to life as it once was after hearing they have “no evidence of disease” isn’t easy.
As for CC Webster, she was diagnosed at 29 with Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells. She previously told SurvivorNet, “In life after cancer, I experienced an entirely new level of anxiety that I didn’t know existed.”
“Earth-shattering anxiety that makes you sweat, and makes your heart race,” she explained. “I had to learn how to manage myself in that, and how to allow myself to process the trauma that I had just been through.”
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff
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