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What Kind of Cancer Did Paul Newman Die From?


Updated October 02, 2012

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What Kind of Cancer Did Paul Newman Die From?

Paul Newman

Getty Images/Peter Kramer
Question: What Kind of Cancer Did Paul Newman Die From?

Paul Newman died from lung cancer at the age of 83 in his home in Westport, Connecticut.

Paul Newman and Lung Cancer

Actor, producer, race car driver, and philanthropist Paul Newman, starred in films in an era when smoking was considered “sophisticated.” He was apparently a chain-smoker back in those days, but quit smoking 30 years before his diagnosis was made public in June of 2008.

Newman’s story is not unique. At the current time, the majority of people who develop lung cancer do not smoke. Roughly 15% of people who develop the disease have never smoked, and another 50% are former smokers who have long since kicked the habit.

How Long Did Paul Newman Live With Lung Cancer?

We don’t know exactly how long Paul Newman lived with lung cancer. In June of 2008 it was rumored, then denied, then confirmed that Paul Newman had the disease. He passed away on September 26, 2008, 3 months after his diagnosis became known.

In 2007 Paul Newman said he was retiring from acting, but cited reasons other than health concerns. In May of 2008, he announced he would not be directing “Mice and Men” because of health problems.

It may be that Paul Newman desired the privacy that many famous people are denied. Or it may be the stigma of lung cancer -- that unspoken sense that somehow people with lung cancer deserve the disease -- that kept him silent at first. Nobody deserves a diagnosis of cancer. Hopefully, others like Paul Newman will open up about their diagnosis, and help to raise awareness about lung cancer - the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the United States.

Further Reading:


Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education. Paul Newman’s Death from “Cancer” (Not Lung Cancer, mind you…). 10/02/08. http://cancergrace.org/lung/2008/10/02/paul-newman/

The New York Times. Obituaries. Paul Newman, a Magnetic Titan of Hollywood, Is Dead at 83. 09/27/08. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/movies/28newman.html

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