Former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is being treated for an advanced cancer, a spokesman for the mayor confirmed. Menino is undergoing treatment at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Menino, who just left the mayor’s office in January after a record-breaking 20 years, has described the unknown case of cancer the toughest fight of his life. Doctors say the cancer metastasized from an unknown origin and they have been unable to find the source after an exhaustive search.
The cancer was found by Menino’s general care physician, Dr. Charles A. Morris, after he was having weakness in the legs. Morris examined Menino’s back because of the problem and that is when he found the cancer. He was called back in shortly after the revelation.
The 71-year-old Bostonian began chemotherapy in the beginning of March, and is expected to continue the therapy in two-week intervals at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Only 3 percent of patients fall into a category of cancer that can not be pinpointed. According to doctors, Menino handled the first chemotherapy treatment well but surgery is not an option at this point.
But Boston’s former mayor Menino is undergoing treatment for cancer confidently. After suffering through a series of health problems in 2012, Menino said he has the support of friends and family and the best medical treatment he can find. “We’ll get through it,” he told the Boston Globe. “What else can you do?” Menino urged that he does not want sympathy or any sort of different treatment, as “there are people worse off than me.”
The diagnosis has not seemed to slow the former Boston mayor down, as he has continued with his work load and taken meetings around the northeast. Just last week he visited the Boston Red Sox during spring training, and gave a speech at a college in New Hampshire. Next week, the ex-mayor travels to New York to speak again.
In 2012, Menino was diagnosed with both a blood clot and respiratory infection. He suffered a fractured vertebrae and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during his hospitalization. That year, he spent eight weeks of his time in hospitals throughout Boston. However, Morris is confident that no sign of the cancer could be traced back to his medical history. Menino’s oncologist echoed this sentiment after reviewing his x-rays and other medical scans that were held on file.
Menino has suffered two bouts with cancer before. In 2003, he had cancerous tissue removed from his shoulder blades, and in 2012 he had a minor area of skin cancer removed. However, doctors are confident that these cancers have no relation to the new form of unknown cancer. Dr. Charles Fuchs, who is also working with Menino, said that it is “unlikely you will find the source in our experience.”
Menino claimed that he has not suffered from any pain or discomfort related to this new discovery or the cancer treatment. Currently working at Boston University, he recently completed the draft of a memoir he cowrote which will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September. After four scheduled chemotherapy treatments, Doctors will reevaluate the situation before deciding how to move on. But the former Boston Mayor remains confident as he is treated for this cancer. “I’ve got treatment coming. I believe I’ll get through it. And I’ll be at work on Monday morning,” said Menino.
By Nathan Rohenkohl