ESPN Broadcaster Dick Vitale Reveals Vocal Cord Cancer 2 Years After Lymphoma Diagnosis

The Hall of Fame broadcaster’s doctor told him there is an “extremely high cure rate”

ESPN college basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer, the Hall of Famer said Wednesday.

Vitale, 84, was diagnosed with lymphoma and treated for melanoma in 2021.

“I’m sorry to share that I received tough news today from Dr. Zeitels about my throat,” Vitale shared in a statement. “The tests on the tissues they removed showed that I have vocal cord cancer and will need 6 weeks of radiation to treat it. Dr. Z tells me that it has an extremely high cure rate, and that radiation, not more surgery, is the best path.”

Vitale, who has been at ESPN since the network launched in 1979, said he plans to “fight like hell” to be prepared to return to the network when the college basketball season starts in the fall. His doctor believes this is “entirely possible,” Vitale wrote, adding that he is “so touched” by the support he received from fans.

“This time last year, I was on the ESPYs stage, asking everyone to help in the cancer fight,” Vitale wrote. “This terrible disease strikes so many of our loved ones, and it’s now knocked on my door three different times. More research will continue to help in this fight.”

At the end of his statement, Vitale wrote that he is “grateful” for his family and his ESPN family for “their incredible support, and so appreciative of the outstanding team of medical experts whose dedication has such a positive impact on so many lives.”

Vitale’s latest statement comes a few weeks after he announced that his doctor told him “past issues on my vocal cords” had returned. He needed two surgeries, with the first on July 11 and was put on complete vocal rest for six to eight weeks in recovery.

“That part is so frustrating as I feel trapped not being able to express myself,” he wrote on June 22. “The positive news Dr Z is optimistic to have me ready for my 45th yr on @espn.”

The broadcaster and former basketball coach announced his cancer diagnosis in an October 2021 essay for ESPN’s Front Row. He revealed he was diagnosed with lymphoma, or cancer of the lymphatic system, weeks after sharing his melanoma diagnosis. In August 2022, Vitale shared on Twitter that his doctor cleared him of cancer.

During last year’s ESPYs, Vitale received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and delivered a moving speech after actor Jon Hamm presented the award.

“No kid or child should be going through chemo or radiation,” Vitale began. “[Cancer] doesn’t discriminate, it comes after all… It doesn’t matter race or religion, it will bring you to your knees. There’s only one way to beat it, my friends, we have to raise dollars and give oncologists a fighting chance.”

Vitale shared a message to “keep chasing your dreams, keep chasing your goals,” adding, “Just remember: perseverance, plus passion, plus pride, equals ‘win’ in the game of life.”