Kathy Griffin shares cancer diagnosis ahead of surgery to remove half her lung

Kathy Griffin in a purple outfit at The Queerties 2020 Awards Reception

Comedian and actor Kathy Griffin has announced that she is having surgery after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The 60-year-old opened up about her diagnosis in a message posted across her social media platforms. She shared that she has cancer and is “about to go into surgery to have half of my left lung removed”.

“Yes, I have lung cancer even though I’ve never smoked,” Griffin wrote. “The doctors are very optimistic as it is stage one and contained to my left lung.”

She said that she is hopeful she won’t have to undergo “chemo or radiation” after surgery and that she should have “normal function with my breathing”. Griffin added that she should be “up and running around as usual in a month or less”.


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“Of course, I am fully vaccinated for COVID,” Griffin said. “The consequences for being unvaccinated would have been even more serious.”

She called on her fans to “stay up to date on your medical check-ups” because it will “save your life”.

Fans and celebrities have sent messages of support to Griffin on social media. Gloria Estefan said she was “sending love, prayers and good thoughts” for the comedian’s “complete recovery”.

US TV personality and Drag Race host Ross Mathews commented that he loved Griffin “so much” and will be “here if you need anything”.

Kathy Griffin in black outfit amid purple background at the 11th Annual Shorty Awards in 2019

Kathy Griffin attends the 11th Annual Shorty Awards on 5 May 2019 at PlayStation Theater in New York City. (Getty/Astrid Stawiarz/Shorty Awards)

Kathy Griffin says she has had a ‘helluva four years’

Griffin noted on social media that she has faced a difficult four years while “trying to get back to work” after dealing with backlash from her infamous 2017 photoshoot with a fake decapitated head of then-president Donald Trump. She was subsequently fired from her role as host of CNN‘s “New Year’s Eve Live” broadcast.

Griffin told ABC News’s Nightline that the fallout from that photoshoot led to death threats which left her in a dark place. She described how she had a serious addiction to painkillers and suicidal thoughts.

Griffin explained that she had the mass in her lungs “for a long time”, but she was “still a little bit in shock” that it would now require surgery.

“Once a day, I’ll just turn to, like, nobody next to me and go ‘Can you believe this s**t? Is this a b***h or what’,” she said. “It’s stage 1. It’s nowhere else in my body. So I need to focus on that.”

She added that her doctors “all wanna be funny” with her, and she loved “when they try material on me”. Griffin described how one medical professional described the “couple of balloons” they would use in surgery like condoms.

But she cautioned him that she’ll “do the jokes” if they stuck to just doing the medical procedure.