Sunday, October 4, 2015

Big Daddy Graham says he has throat cancer

Prognosis good, he said.

Big Daddy Graham says he has throat cancer


"Don't make it an Oprah moment" is how Big Daddy Graham, the comedian-overnighter on WIP, told me when discussing his throat cancer, which he disclosed on the air today twice -- to his overnight listeners at 2 a.m. and to Angelo Cataldi's show at 8 a.m.

Graham, 56, said the prognosis is good.

The cancer was discovered during back surgery on Feb. 24.

Graham said he was on the operating table at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital when surgeons tried to insert a tube down his windpipe. They found an obstruction. His medical records showed that he had seen a throat specialist at Jeff. The doc, Joseph Spiegel, was summoned to the OR. He scrubbed in and took a biopsy. Meanwhile, Alex Vaccaro, the back doc, performed the back surgery. When Graham came to, docs delivered the news.

"I caught a couple big breaks," Graham told me. He was going to put off the back surgery. "I got lucky there, and lucky that throat doc was one floor above. Two months can be a big deal."

"They told me right from the get-go, 'This is very curable.' Now they tell you that and then you have to have radiation and chemo for eight weeks. All heavy-duty stuff. But I'm in such pain from my back, I really wasn't giving the cancer much thought."

Graham said he was going to do the treatments under the radar -- although coworkers knew about it, it's rather easy for an overnight radio host to walk around in a brace. "I asked them all not to mention cancer on the air," he said. "I hate the word."

Then he was diagnosed with a major staph infection, and management suggested that he recuperate at home.

He starts treatment this week, he said.

"There are people way, way, way sicker than me," he said.
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Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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