Tom Brokaw: What It Means to Have Cancer

Tom Brokaw (right) meets with Dana-Farber President and CEO Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD.

The world is divided between those who are sympathetic to their friends and family who have cancer and those who have cancer and are empathetic with each other, says Tom Brokaw, the former “NBC Nightly News” anchor. Brokaw, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2013, shares his cancer story in the video below.

He advises new patients to be wary of Google searches, praises the work of cancer researchers, and recounts the physical and mental challenges he faced after being diagnosed. While he remained positive throughout the treatment, he admits he wasn’t prepared for the physical ordeal. “No one said to me it’s going to really knock you on your backside,” he says.


14 thoughts on “Tom Brokaw: What It Means to Have Cancer”

  1. Thanks Tom!I was Recently diagnosed by the DFCI team with a rare form of lymphoma. I agree with everything you said, in particular the care and support of family and friends. I am just starting treatment and am doing my best to keep a positive attitude. I wish you all the best and many happy years to come. Lori Bird

  2. I was diagnosed in April of 2012, and so few people knew of it. When I heard of your diagnosis I felt more people will now understand . I had a sct at Dana-Farber in May of 2013. I am now 18 months out and look and feel pretty good. May you continue to good health. Be kind to yourself it has been a long journey. Rosemary Mahar

  3. Thank you, Tom Brokaw, for sharing with us. I have often wondered how you were doing, navigating the peaks and valleys of Multiple Myeloma. I was diagnosed in Sept. of 2008, and have been receiving treatment at DFCI. So far, so good! Just keep thinking positive thoughts and living life to the fullest!

  4. Thanks. I was diagnosed at a major cancer centerwith stage 3 myeloma and told I had at most 3 years to live. that was over 22 years ago. Each of the last 8 years I rode ny bike 328 miles in 4 days across Ohio in the American Cancer Society Pan Ohio Hope Ride. We raise funds so that cancer patients can stay free at one of 31 ACS Hope Lodges. I want all patients to have access to leading treatments that keep me physically active while dealing with an incurable blood cancer. Our story is available on the web. James Bond

  5. Much of our story is on Dana Farber’s site. Like Tom, exercise plays a huge part in my survival and in rebuilding my strength and stamina. I have had 4 stem cell bone marrow transplants and been in 6 clinical trials so far. Paul Richardson and his Dana team saved my life in 2002 in a clinical trial for an experimental drug, which was approved a year later and is now known as Velcade. I can be contacted at

  6. Thanks for your message Mr. Brokaw. I was diagnosed in 2009 and relieved my sct in 2010 at the Mount Sinai Cancer Center. It has been an interesting journey I am still able to work full time working with those in dire need, the homeless.
    I will you well on your journey.

  7. Mr. Brokaw – your experience sounds almost identical to mine. I was diagnosed in May 2011 at the age of 48. I had 9 compression fractures in my back and ended up in a wheelchair for a short time when I started treatment. Once I started chemo and radiation my back gradually got better. I had a stem cell transplant in February of 2012 and finally this past May I felt normal again. I still have back pain but I can finally hit a golf ball like I used to. I have been lucky and blessed as my treatment has gone well without any real complications. Dana Farber saved my life and I can’t thank them enough. In February I’m looking forward to celebrating 3 years in remission. Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. I am in remission at the five year mark from Ovarian Cancer. I also had Uterine Cancer and am presently being treated for Thyroid Cancer. It has been a long 7 years but I am still standing. I attribute this to DFCI and its team of amazing doctors, nurses, researchers, and staff to help me through all of the ups and downs. During this same time, I lost my husband to Glioblastoma Multiforme. My oldest daughter (then 21 years old) is now in remission with Hodgkins Lymphoma as well. She is now is Law School in Boston. All of us have been so blessed with amazing care at DFCI. There are miracles that happen here at DFCI. Cancer kicked my behind on many levels. I keep getting back up from it and thanking the Good Lord for all the blessings and strengths that have come with CANCER and its remission. I have prayed for you Tom for a long time. Believe…. embrace…. and give thanks for everything you experience with Cancer and its walk. Someday I would love to write a book about OUR experiences. I am sure you understand the need to share the walk. Bless you Tom. Always, AnnMarie Richard, R.N.

  9. Read the postings and they are inspirational..just started my journey and it threw me for a loop. Where did this com from? I’m not supposed to get cancer, ice been so healthy always. I exercise, ski , dance, very active. Why me???
    I consider myself lucky to be surrounded with competent & knowledgeable doctors here in LA. I follow their directions to the T. & hoping for the best. I am calm, serene & at peace with the process.
    Lillian F

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