In 1964, doctors diagnosed Wayne with lung cancer, but he fought the disease and won. He had surgery to remove part of his lung, which was successful. Following his bout with the disease, the Hollywood star became vocal about early detection. He helped bring awareness to the importance of regular doctor visits. While the actor later passed away from stomach cancer in 1979, he fought for the cause during his remaining years.
As part of his campaign to raise awareness about cancer, John Wayne met with President Richard Nixon. The two men met in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 1972, to discuss the disease. Their meeting was a “transformative moment” in the fight against cancer, according to Joe Lopez of the Richard Nixon Foundation.
“‘John Wayne speaking out about his cancer diagnosis was a transformative moment.’ – Joe Lopez, from the Richard Nixon Foundation. Letters from the #JohnWayneArchive will be on display at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in an exhibit titled ‘A Commitment to Hope: Richard Nixon and the National Cancer Act’ to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Cancer Act. You can read these letters and learn more on JohnWayne.com/jwjournal,” the account shared.
John Wayne’s Estate Shares The Duke’s Cancer Message on Giving Tuesday
Earlier this week on Giving Tuesday, The Duke’s official Instagram account shared a video message from John Wayne about cancer.
In the clip, the famous actor addresses just how important early cancer detection can be to beating the disease. It’s a subject the western icon and his foundation, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, held in high regard.
“Hello, folks. I’m here to talk about cancer,” John Wayne says. “Now I know about cancer. Matter of fact, I lost a lung and couple of ribs learning about it.”
“The simple fact is, cancer can often be cured if it’s detected and treated in time,” he added. “And that’s why a health checkup once a year is very important. It can give your doctor the chance to detect the disease long before you yourself would know about it. If it’s there, you’re giving yourself the best chance to lick it.”
John Wayne’s official Instagram account posted the video of The Duke in full cowboy gear as the actor shared his cancer message.
“Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving!” the post read. “The John Wayne Cancer Foundation was created by John Wayne’s family with the mission to bring courage, strength, and grit to the fight against cancer. Head to @joinjohnwayne’s Instagram Stories to learn more about JWCF and how you can donate to join us in the fight against cancer!”