Blythe Danner has revealed her personal battle with the same cancer that killed her husband Bruce Paltrow
This year, the holidays will be a little sweeter for Blythe Danner, who is revealing for the first time that she’s in remission after a year-long battle with oral cancer, the same disease that killed her loved ones. Husband Bruce Paltrow In 2002.
“Everybody gets cancer in some way, but it’s unusual for a couple to get the same cancer,” said Danner, 79, who is her mother. Gwyneth Paltrow, 50 and Zac Paltrow, 47. When he was diagnosed with the disease in March 2018, “I remember looking up at the heavens and saying to Bruce, ‘Are you alone up there?'” she says. “It’s a sneaky disease. But I’m fine and doing well now. And I’m lucky to be alive.”
Danner, an Emmy-winning actress known for her roles in Meet the parents And then Will and Grace, was working in London in 2018 when “I started feeling very uncomfortable and I was forgetting everything,” she recalled. “And then I felt a lump on my neck, right next to where Bruce found him [in 1999]”
He was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a relatively rare form of oral cancer. cancer which often develops in the salivary glands. “I kept it from my kids for a long time,” Danner says. “I wanted to move on as a mother, and I didn’t want them to worry.”
When she finally told her daughter, “I was obviously devastated,” Gwyneth recalls. “It was scary. And it felt really scary because it was the same [to my dad’s]”
But Danner didn’t live. And after two previous surgeries, and several years of exploring alternative treatments, the actress underwent a third surgery in 2020 with Dr. Marc Delacour, which succeeded in removing the cancerous tissue.
“She went through it with so much grace,” Gwyneth said. “I was amazed at how strong he could be.”
To learn more about Blythe’s cancer journey, pick up the latest issue of People, on newsstands now
Throughout her journey, which included radiation and chemotherapy, “I wasn’t shaking in my boots,” Danner says. “I’m not afraid of death at all.”
The grandmother-of-four said her perspective on mortality changed dramatically after the death of Bruce, to whom she had been married for 33 years.
“You never get over that kind of loss,” Danner said. “Bruce was the heart of our family. And life is so much paler without him. But sadness is the price we pay for love.”
These days, Danner surrounds herself with family — “nothing makes me happier than kids,” she says — as well as her advocacy work. Oral Cancer Foundationwhich seeks to raise awareness about oral and oropharyngeal cancer, with which approximately 54,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.
“Screening for early symptoms by a dental professional is quick, inexpensive and painless,” said the foundation’s executive director, Brian Hill, who also advocates vaccinating children for HPV, a virus that can cause oral cancer.
Danner said, reflecting on Bruce’s death and her own battle: “I think we’re all made stronger in some way. It’s a crapshoot — this disease and this life. But I have a career, great kids and a loving husband. I’m so grateful.”
For more information, visit Oral Cancer Foundation.
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