Legendary TV host Larry King has revealed his battle with lung cancer, and opened up about the diagnosis to “Extra's” Mario Lopez.
King, 83, explained, “It wasn't really a battle. It was really strange, Mario. I have a checkup every year. I've gone through a lot in my life — I've had a heart attack and heart surgery. Part of my checkup is the chest X-ray, and that is the protocol. I do it every year... it was always normal. Then the doctor says, 'I see a little spot here. Let's do a CAT scan, so they do a CAT scan, and they say, 'Let's do a PET scan'… I don't think there are any other scans.”
King recalled how he found out he had cancer, saying the doctor told him, "You have a small [spot]. It could be malignant, it could be benign — we ought to take it out."
"On July 17, I had the surgery here at Cedars," King said. "They took it out. It was malignant. They were going to take it out if it was malignant or benign. They tested it. They said, 'You are fine.' It was stage 1.”
King said, “I had no clue at all. If I had not had the chest X-ray, it would have progressed.”
He added that a week after the surgery he was home, and a week after that he was back to work. The Emmy winner revealed he wasn't fazed when he heard he had cancer. “They did it so well. They said, 'You have a very early stage of lung cancer.' They said, 'You can go to Europe, you can speak and come back.'”
Now, King will get a chest X-ray every six months. “The reason I go public with it is to tell people, 'Get a chest X-ray.' I smoked for thirty years. The day of the heart attack, I never smoked again, and I smoked three packs a day — I smoked in the shower.”
King said he knows the smoking contributed to his lung cancer. “Thirty years later, I said to the doctor, 'Is this connected with that?' Absolutely.”
The good news is that King is on the mend, healthy, and celebrating 60 years in broadcasting. “I feel good, I get my checkups, I stay healthy and I love working, I do Ora.TV, I do politicking, I still make speeches, I'm active.”
Smiling, he said, “I'll die on the air probably,” adding that he is still doing the same work he's always done, just on a new medium — the Internet. “I'm doing what I did 61 years ago; I'm transmitted differently.”
One person he has interviewed many times over the years is President Trump. King said if he spoke to Trump today, he would say, “Donald, I've know you for 35 years. Explain this to me. This is not the Donald I know. I haven't heard from him since he was elected.”