Rush Limbaugh Diagnosed with Lung Cancer

Rush Limbaugh announced Monday he has advanced lung cancer. The 69-year-old conservative radio talk show host was diagnosed Jan. 20.

“I have to tell you something that I wish I didn’t have to tell you, and it’s a struggle for me because I had to inform my staff earlier today,” Limbaugh said. “I cannot escape … [the feeling that I’m] letting everybody down with this. I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”

A native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Limbaugh began his radio career as a disc jockey and launching his talk show in 1984. Today, his show is syndicated nationally on more than 500 stations.

“I thought about not telling anybody,” Limbaugh said Monday. “Thought about doing this without anybody knowing because I don’t like making this about me. But there are days I won’t be able to be here because I’m undergoing treatment or responding to treatment.

“This has happened, and my intention is to come here every day I can.”

Non-small cell lung cancer is responsible for 85 percent of lung cancers. Most doctors use “advanced lung cancer” as a term for Stage IIIB and Stage IV lung cancer. (1) Stage IV cancer is considered advanced and has spread to other areas of the body.

Stage IIIB non-small cell lung cancers are tumors of any size which have spread to lymph nodes on the other side of the chest, near the collarbone, or have invaded other organs like the heart or esophagus.

Stage IV non-small cell lung cancers are tumors that have spread to the space between the layers lining the lungs (malignant pleural effusion) or to another region of the body. Lung cancer most commonly spreads to the bones, the liver, the brain, or the adrenal glands.

There are two basic types of treatments:

  • Local therapy– cancer treatment focused on a specific area that includes radiation therapy and surgery.
  • Systemic therapy– cancer treatment anywhere in your body that includes chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy.

Most advanced non-small cell lung cancers cannot be surgically removed due to extensive lymph node involvement or because the tumor location is not amenable to surgery at this spot. (2)

The American Society of Clinical Oncology notes lung cancer makes up about 13% of all new cancer type diagnoses. Black men are about 20% more likely to get lung cancer than white men. Black women are 10% less likely to get cancer when compared with white women. (3)

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death for men and women. It is estimated that 142,670 (76,650 men and 66,020 women) deaths from this disease will occur this year.

The 5-year survival rate – the percent of people who are alive at least 5 years after the cancer is found – for all types of lung cancer is 19%. The 5-year survival rate for men is 16% and 22% for women. The 5-year survival rate for non-small cell lung cancers is 23%.

However, survival rates depend on several factors, including the subtype of lung cancer and the stage of the disease.

Limbaugh has several treatment options. However, cancer treatment – alternative or conventional – carry a substantial cost. There are many ways to cover the cost of treatment, and assists and helps patients financially manage their cancer care. will evaluate an existing life insurance policy to possibly convert it into much-needed cash to pay for cancer treatment. Regardless of whether you choose conventional or alternative cancer treatments, having the financial means to fight cancer is vital.



(1) Advanced Lung Cancer Overview.

(2) A Breath of Fresh Air for Advanced Lung Cancer.

(3) Lung Cancer – Non-Small Cell: Statistics.


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