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Rush Limbaugh Says His Lung Cancer Is Terminal, Going In 'Wrong Direction'

Rush Limbaugh is giving an update on his stage 4 case of lung cancer, saying that despite some success in treating the disease, recent scans showed the cancer has progressed. "It's not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction," Limbaugh told listeners to his conservative radio show.

"Stage 4 is, as they say, terminal," Limbaugh said, providing the most specific details yet about his illness. He added that after first receiving the cancer diagnosis, "I never thought I would see October 1st. I never thought I would. When October 1st hit on the calendar this year, I reminded myself of that — of that thought."

Limbaugh disclosed his cancer diagnosis in February. Since then, he says, he has undergone several treatment regimens, including two early approaches that failed. But a third strategy showed positive results – until a recent scan found the cancer had progressed, he said. His treatment plan has now been tweaked with new chemotherapy drugs to try to slow the disease, he added.

The longtime broadcaster says he intends to keep putting on his show, despite fatigue and other effects of his cancer and treatment.

"I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible," he said.

Limbaugh said his embrace of religion has helped him cope with the uncertainty cancer brings. After his update generated expressions of support, he thanked well-wishers via Twitter, saying, "Thank you so much for your overwhelming encouragement, support, and prayers out there. They absolutely work! Fear not, I plan to hang around a long time to continue to annoy the left."

Explaining his reluctance to give more regular updates on his condition, Limbaugh said he's not alone in facing cancer. He also said the disease presents so many reversals that keeping his audience informed would simply take up too much air time.

"In a nutshell, there are lots of ups and downs in this particular illness. And it can feel like a roller coaster at times that you can't get off of," he said. "And again, I want to stress here that I know countless numbers of you are experiencing the same thing. If it isn't lung cancer, it's some kind of cancer. If it isn't you, it's somebody really close to you. If it isn't an illness, it's something."

"We're all going through challenges," the broadcaster added. "Mine are no better and mine are no different and mine are no more special than anybody else. But it can feel like a roller coaster."

One day after Limbaugh revealed his cancer diagnosis on the air, President Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom — a presentation that took place during the 2020 State of the Union address.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.