Larry King has conquered 60 years in broadcasting, but now he’s fighting a new battle. The TV host exclusively reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly that he was secretly diagnosed with lung cancer.
King, 83, received the news during a routine visit with his doctor. “I go for my checkup and they say, ‘Let’s do a chest X-ray, and the doctor said to me, ‘Something looks funny,'” he recalls. “They said the spot looked pretty small. … I then did a CAT scan then a PET scan and then he said to me, ‘You have lung cancer, but it looks very small, in the beginning stages.'”
Luckily, the Larry King Now host’s doctor caught it early. King underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on July 17. “The doctor said to me, ‘It was malignant but you were in the first stage. If it had stayed and we didn’t find it, you would have had trouble in two or three years, but we got it and you were lucky,'” he tells Us.
After recovering for just two weeks, King returned to work. “They showed me my latest chest X-ray, which is all clear,” he says. “It was fun to see where that spot was and there is no spot now. They took off 20 percent of the lung.”
The journalist has battled health issues for decades. He had a heart attack in February 1987 and underwent a bypass procedure that December after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Then, in his 70s, he found out that he had prostate cancer, which was treated with radiation and didn’t require surgery.
King hasn’t smoked a cigarette since his heart attack in the late ’80s. However, “the doctor said that tobacco from 30 years ago is still related to this lung cancer,” he tells Us. Now, the suspenders enthusiast hopes his health scare will educate others. “When you are [getting] a checkup, get a chest X-ray because lung cancer ain’t going to tell you it’s there, but a simple chest X-ray will,” he explains. “If it shows you one little spot, you will do a CAT scan. They are all painless.”
As for what’s next? “I’ve done everything I can do. I’ve done comedy, stand-up, I tell stories, I’ve written 15 books, I have done television [and] radio,” King muses. “I would like to do six months on Broadway. I’d like to do an evening with Larry King where I tell stories and take questions from the audience. … That would be on my bucket list.”
King doesn’t have any plans to slow down either. “I will probably die on the air. I have beaten so many things health-wise to feel this good now. I have no plans to retire,” he tells Us. “I’ve never ever felt better than I do now.”
For more on King’s cancer battle, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now! Larry King Now, which just kicked off its sixth season, airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at www.ora.tv/LarryKingNow. The latest episode features Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott.