Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Although he hasn’t smoked in 30 years, Larry King was reminded of the all-too-real consequences of tobacco use earlier this summer.
The octogenarian interviewer underwent surgery for lung cancer in July, he revealed to “People” in a story published Wednesday.
“They said I was lucky and smart to get annual chest X-rays because lung cancer doesn’t give you any signs until it’s in late stages,” King said. “And by then it’s too late.”
King’s Stage 1 cancerous mass appeared in X-rays as a cloud on his lung. Doctors removed the malignancy through a surgical procedure that went in through his ribs, and after a week of recovery, King was back to work on the sixth season of “Larry King Now.”
The legendary broadcaster, 83, opted to be transparent with his latest health scare as a way to raise awareness.
“When I had my heart attack and was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes (in 1987) and prostate cancer (in 1999), I talked about it and felt that I helped a lot of people,” King said. “I want people to make sure to get annual X-rays.”
King’s doctors attributed his lung cancer to his years of smoking three packs a day, despite stopping after his heart attack.
“I never thought it would happen to me. I saw all the warnings, but I never paid attention. I loved smoking, but when I had the heart attack that February of 1987, I stopped that day and never reached for one again,” he said. “It was easy for me because I got scared to death.”