Dick Vitale Diagnosed with Vocal Cord Cancer

By Steve Blanchard - July 17, 2023

Dick Vitale, one of the most recognizable voices in U.S. sports, announced he has been diagnosed with vocal cord cancer. He has previously been treated for melanoma and lymphoma.

“I plan to fight like hell to be ready to call games when the college hoops season tips off in the Fall,” Vitale shared on social media. “I want to say that I have been so touched by the tweets, texts, notes, and prayers, and will ask all of you to continue to send positive vibes.”

Vitale shared that he is undergoing radiation treatments for vocal cord cancer and, according to Dr. George Yang in the Radiation Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, it’s a safe, effective and well tolerated treatment.

“Not only is radiation a common tactic in treating vocal cord cancer, but it is also actually preferred when it comes to vocal outcomes,” Yang said.

Yang added that for early-stage vocal cord cancer, radiation treatment typically lasts just short of six weeks.

According to Vitale, doctors removed tissue from his vocal cords for analysis, which tested positive for cancer. He’s confident that radiation treatment will be successful.

My doctor “tells me that it has an extremely high cure rate and that radiation, not surgery, is the best path,” Vitale wrote.

Yang agrees with that assessment.

“For early stage vocal cord cancers treated with definitive radiation, the expected cure rates are around 90%,” he said. “Typically, a standard linear accelerator is used to treat vocal cord cancers, utilizing 3D conformal radiotherapy.”

portrait of blockquote author

"For early-stage vocal cord cancers treated with definitive radiation, the expected cure rates are around 90%."

- Dr. George Yang, Radiation Oncology Program

Vitale, 84, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2021 after undergoing several surgeries to get rid of melanoma. Last year, he was declared cancer free.

There are an estimated 10,000 cases of vocal cord cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Vitale has become an advocate for cancer research and will once again tap into his fighting spirit to beat the disease.

“This terrible disease strikes so many of our loved ones and it’s now knocked on my door three different times,” Vitale said. “I plan on winning this battle like I did vs melanoma and lymphoma.”

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