Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh says the lung cancer he announced in February has worsened.
"Folks, it's an up-and-down thing. It really is a day-to-day thing," Limbaugh, 69, said near the beginning of his nationally syndicated program Monday. "And so what I tell you one day could very well be true. And then the next day, oops, setback, oops, what, then I gotta go back: 'Folks, what I told you yesterday, forget it. It's not true today.' … But I know you're concerned. So … I do want to provide you with a brief and honest update."
Saying that his stage 4 cancer "can feel like a roller coaster at times that you can't get off of," Limbaugh told listeners, "It's tough to realize that the days where I do not think I'm under a death sentence are over. Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we're going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal-disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it."
The country's second highest-paid radio personality in Forbes magazine's most recent list of top-earning celebrities, after Roosevelt- and Rockville Centre-raised Howard Stern, Limbaugh said that the week before last, "The scans did show some progression of cancer. Now, prior to that, the scans had shown that we had rendered the cancer dormant. That's my phrase for it. We had stopped the growth. It had been reduced and it had become manageable."
But, he added, "There's always the reality and the knowledge that can change and that it can come back, because it is cancer. It eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it." Noting that "stage 4 is, as they say, terminal," Limbaugh said the "recent progression" was "not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction."
The host, whose show airs locally from noon to 3 p.m. on WOR/710 AM, said doctors have adjusted his treatment plan "in hopes of keeping additional progression at bay for as long as possible. The idea now is to keep it where it is or maybe have it reduce again. We've shown that is possible. If it happened once, it can happen again."
In a portion of the show for his subscription audience, aired during a commercial break, Limbaugh said that after receiving the diagnosis in January, "I never thought I would see October First," according to a transcript on his website. "I never thought I would. When October First hit on the calendar this year, I reminded myself of that." His doctor, Limbaugh recalled, had said at the beginning, " 'If you don't do anything, we're looking here at a couple of months. If you look at treatment, if it works, we're looking at …' And then they wouldn't give me a time. They still won't. … So given that as a starting point … the future remains pretty good-looking."