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Rare Appendix Cancer Ends Life of Stuart Scott

Sportscaster Stuart Scott accepts the Jimmy V award for perseverance, at the ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Image Credit: John Shearer | The Associated Press)[/caption]

Stuart Scott, one of ESPN’s signature SportsCenter anchors, died Sunday after a battle with appendix cancer at age 49.  His death comes as no surprise. The legendary ESPN anchor made no secret of his illness or his seven-year struggle against appendix cancer. Still, his loss has struck those who cared for him and admired him hard.

Scott was well known and admired long before he started teaching the world about what it is like to live with cancer. His talent and creativity were heralded, and he was known for his unique style and flair. A wall in the ESPN studios dedicated to catchphrase made popular by the network’s personalities boasts nine different phrases attributed to him, and in an interview, ESPN president John Skipper simply said he had “changed everything.” His tenure in sports journalism covered everything from Major League Baseball and basketball to the Final Four, and he interviewed personalities ranging from Tiger Woods to President Obama. He was a familiar face to sports fans everywhere, but after his cancer diagnosis his reach grew even wider.

Cancer Diagnosis: “You have appendix cancer.”

Scott’s cancer diagnosis came in 2007, when an emergency appendectomy revealed that he had cancer of the appendix. This rare form of cancer is also difficult to treat, as it is generally not discovered until the cancer has spread. He had numerous surgeries and treatments to remove other tumors, and throughout the years of his treatment he worked hard to constantly remain upbeat and strong.

In 2014, his courage was recognized by the sports community when he received the Jimmy V. ESPY Award for Perseverance, named in honor of basketball coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993. His moving seven-minute long acceptance speech extensively referred to the support he had received from those around him.

“This whole fight, this journey thing, is not a solo venture. This is something that requires support.”

In speaking of the experience of living with cancer, he said,

“When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.”

Stuart Scott’s Moving ESPYS Speech

Stuart Scott chose to live life with cancer to its fullest. He dedicated himself to his relationship with his teenaged daughters and to spending time doing the things that were most important to him. At Fifth Season Financial, we understand that living life to its fullest can be difficult when you are facing the expenses and financial challenges that advanced cancer can bring. If you are interested in finding a financial solution that makes your life easier, contact us to discuss our Funds for Living Program. We’ll help you get the money you need to live life the way that you want to.

What is Appendiceal Cancer? (Appendix Cancer)

Appendiceal cancer, also known as appendix cancer, is very rare and affects only 600-1,000 Americans annually. There have been other famous people who have had appendix cancer, including Audrey Hepburn who died from the disease in 1993.

Appendix cancer is often very indolent and produces nearly no symptoms until the tumor is far advanced.

There are several types of cancer of the appendix and there are no known risk factors or environmental exposures that put people at risk for the disease. Treatment of appendiceal cancer involves surgery to remove the tumor and appendix and then chemotherapy and radiation treatments are often used as adjunct therapy.

Survival rates in patients with appendix cancer are very poor. The prognosis is often determined by the age and overall health of the patient and the time of diagnosis, the stage of the tumor and the extent of the spread of the disease.

Cancers that have spread beyond their original location are often far advanced and more difficult to treat. However, treatments continue to be developed and more research is needed.

Appendix Cancer Types

Appendix cancer is classified by the type of cells within the tumor. The main types are:

Carcinoid tumors: About half of appendix cancers are carcinoid tumors. Carcinoid tumors are most often found in women in their 40s. Most carcinoid tumors are small, and they often can be treated successfully.

Non-carcinoid tumors: These tumors begin in the epithelial cells that line the inside of the appendix. Most epithelial cells produce mucin, a gelatinous material. These tumors have a tendency to spread, and the success of treatment depends on several factors.

Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP): Mucin within the abdomen has few tumor cells, but cells may spread outside the appendix into the abdomen.

Adenocarcinoid tumors, also known as goblet cell carcinomas, have characteristics similar to both carcinoid and adenocarcinoma tumors of the appendix. Most patients are diagnosed in their 50s.

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