Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh told listeners on Monday that his advanced lung cancer has progressed despite undergoing chemotheropy treatment.
Limbaugh said his latest scans didn’t show anything “dramatic” — but that it was a step in the wrong direction.
The conservative talk star said he wanted to keep his fans informed, and wouldn’t cover up his illness. He has repeatedly said it’s better to be honest.
He announced his lung cancer diagnosis in February, and his treatment plan has caused him to miss a number of shows since then.
“From the moment you get the diagnosis, there’s a part of you every day, OK, that’s it, life’s over, you just don’t know when,” Limbaugh said. “So, during the period of time after the diagnosis, you do what you can to prolong life, do what you can to prolong a happy life. You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes.”
“I hate the way I feel every day. It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over,” Limbaugh continued. “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.”
Limbaugh said he got the bad news on his cancer’s progression earlier this month.
“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,” he said. “But there’s always the reality and the knowledge that that can change and it can come back because it is cancer. It eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it.”
He said when he was first diagnosed, he wasn’t sure he’d live until October.
“Someone told me — I think this is good advice, may be helpful — the only thing that any of us are certain of is right now, today. That’s why I thank God every morning when I wake up,” he said. “I thank God that I did. I try to make it the best day I can no matter what. I don’t look too far ahead. I certainly don’t look too far back.”
He started his first national radio show in 1988 from New York, later relocating to Palm Beach, Florida.
The hyper-partisan broadcaster has dominated talk radio with a raucous, liberal-bashing style that made him one of the most influential voices of American right-wing politics and inspired other conservative broadcasters including Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Bill O’Reilly.
The media figure’s endorsement and friendship is a conservative political treasure. His idol, Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter that Limbaugh read on the air in December 1992 and which sealed his reputation among conservatives: “You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism in our country,” Reagan wrote.
Two years later, Limbaugh would be so widely credited as key to Republicans’ takeover of Congress for the first time in 40 years, he was deemed an honorary member of the new class.
His popularity has survived brickbats and thrived despite personal woes.
In 2003, Limbaugh admitted an addiction to painkillers and entered rehabilitation. Authorities opened an investigation into alleged “doctor shopping,” saying he received up to 2,000 pills from four doctors over a period of six months.
He ultimately reached a deal with prosecutors that dismissed the single charge, entered rehab and beat his addiction.
The Associated Press contributed to this article