Mayor Thomas Menino Battling Advanced Cancer

Pam WrightLife

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Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, 71, has been diagnosed with an advanced form of an unknown cancer, the Boston Globe has reported.

The newspaper said in an article posted on its website Saturday that doctors found "an advanced cancer of unknown origin" that had metastasized. Menino's primary physician, Dr. Charles A. Morris, discovered the cancer in February, but its origin is unknown.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement of support on Saturday for Menino and his family.

"I've never known Tom Menino to back down from a fight, and I don't expect him to start now," the statement said. "Mayor Menino has always been here for the people of Boston, and we're behind him today, 100%."

Menino told The Globe his doctor was more shaken after making the discovery of his cancer than he was.

"My attitude really is, we'll get through it," Menino told The Globe.

“What else can you do?” he asked. “What I don’t want is people feeling sorry for me. I don’t want sympathy. There are people worse off than me. It’s my biggest concern — I don’t want to be treated any differently.”

The former mayor has received a lot of support via Twitter since his diagnosis was revealed.

Menino is the longest-serving Boston mayor in history, spending over 20 years in office, until his health problems forced him to decline to run for a sixth term.

He retired from the office a year ago and was been admitted to the hospital several times while in office.

His cancer woes began in 2003 when had a rare sarcoma on his back surgically removed. The following year, his doctors confirmed he had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

In 2012, the former mayor was ill for much of the year and had to be hospitalized several times for a series of ailments, including a respiratory infection. While he was in the hospital, he suffered a compression fracture in his spine and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

And in May 2013, he returned to the hospital for surgery on an enlarged prostate.

Menino says he is scheduled for four chemotherapy treatments, after which his doctors will examine his progress. “I’m confident,” he said. “I feel great. And I’m not faking it.”

Menino said his wife, Angela, has been very strong throughout the long health battle the family has faced.

“She’s a strong kid,” Menino said. “I don’t worry about me. I worry about my family. I can take it.” He paused and added, softer now, “I can take it.”

“I’ll be OK,” Menino said. “I have to be. I want to watch my grandkids grow up.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Pam Wright