What Kind of Cancer Did Paul Newman Die From?

Paul Newman was born on January 26, 1925 in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He displayed an early appreciation and interest in the arts and would later become a world-renowned actor, director, entrepreneur, and humanitarian. He studied theatre at Yale University and made his Broadway debut in William Inge’s Picnic.

His accomplishments included an Oscar for his performance in the film The Color of Money and numerous other awards praising his acting ability. Newman was also co-founder of Newman’s Own, a food company, and donated all profits and royalties to charity. The vice chairman of Newman’s Own said: “Paul Newman’s craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all.”

Other philanthropic endeavors included the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp – a summer camp for seriously ill children. Founded in 1988 it was coined after his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Newman also donated to foundations such as the Catholic Relief Services (to aid Kosovo refugees), and Kenyon College. He also founded the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy that raised awareness and funding in the globalized corporate world. In the years 2008 alone, Newman contributed $20,857,000.

Paul Newman had a known empathy for the underdog. He dedicated much of his life to charity, political activism and making a change in the world. Sadly, on September 26, 2008 Paul Newman passed away from cancer. What kind of cancer did Paul Newman die from? Lung cancer. Paul Newman was a heavy smoker his whole life and had been battling cancer since June 2008.

His film career was during a time when smoking was socially acceptable and there was little information regarding the health detriments. Instead, smoking portrayed old Hollywood sex appeal and sophistication. Although he had quit smoking over 30 years ago, the affects had already taken a toll on his health. Lung tissue, like brain tissue, does not grow back once it is destroyed. Generally, you remain at risk for lung cancer for an additional ten years after you quit. Paul Newman had to cease production on his stage development due to his health condition and was unable to return to finish the project.

Lung cancer claims the lives of millions of people every year. Twice as many American women die of lung cancer than breast cancer and 85% of lung cancer diagnoses are among people who smoke or used to smoke. Currently, only 16% of lung cancer has been diagnosed and detected in the earliest stages.

Lung cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. The abnormalities present in the cells hinder cell function and thus, disallows the development of healthy tissue. Lung cancer is the result of a series of genetic alterations that begin with precancerous cells (the presence of irregularities in the cell but ultimately still functions).

The signs and symptoms of this illness that is often terminal, can take many years to be diagnosed. Usually at that point, the cancer has spread significantly and very little can be done. There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung carcinoma and non-small cell lung carcinoma (considered the less aggressive). The first can sometimes be treated with surgery while the latter responds best to chemotherapy and radiation.

Symptoms of lung cancer include heavy coughing that is persistent and intense, chest/shoulder/back pain not a result of coughing and shortness of breath. Hoarseness and changes in the color and amount of saliva are also indications of lung cancer. It is not uncommon for those with lung cancer to have chronic bronchitis or pneumonia and cough up blood during their illness.

Environmental factors, other than smoking, greatly increase the risk of cancer. Asbestos, radon and secondhand smoke are all culprits in progressing the development of lung cancer and should be avoided at all times.

The diagnosis of cancer can be extremely devastating to people. While some take control and learn up on the disease, others try to avoid the subject as much as they can. It is important for physicians and patients to work in unison during this time period as it helps with the coping and challenges this disease brings.

Paul Newman was a great man who left behind a wonderful legacy. His philanthropy and generosity still live on today. Both his life and death should serve as an inspiration in spirit and in health.