Kathy Griffin Has Lung Cancer, Is Recovering from Removal Surgery

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Kathy Griffin is opening up about her lung-cancer diagnosis. The comedian posted a note to fans on Twitter, revealing that she has stage-one lung cancer. “Yes, I have lung cancer even though I’ve never smoked!” she wrote. (And yes, she’s been vaccinated for COVID-19 as well. “The consequences for being unvaccinated would have been even more serious,” she wrote.) Griffin, 60, added that she will have surgery to remove half of her left lung, which will “hopefully” keep her from having to do chemotherapy or radiation. “The doctors are very optimistic,” she wrote, adding that she “should have normal function with my breathing” afterward. She also referenced her long comeback after the fallout from her photo shoot with a decapitated Donald Trump head. “It’s been a helluva 4 years, trying to get back to work, making you guys laugh and entertaining you, but I’m gonna be fine,” she wrote.

Griffin elaborated on the diagnosis on ABC’s Nightline, saying she’s only known for about “two weeks.” “As a friend of mine said, ‘How many kicks in the nuts can you take?’” she joked. “I’m like, ‘My nuts are pretty strong, but it’s a challenge.’” The star also admitted that she’s “still a bit in shock” over the news. “Not denial, but I still, like once a day I’ll just turn to like nobody next to me and be like, ‘Can you believe this shit?’” she said. “Is this a bitch or what?”

Update August 4: In another social-media post, Griffin said that surgery was a little more than she had anticipated. Today was the first day she was not on narcotic painkillers — a big milestone for Griffin as she disclosed earlier this week that during the fallout from her Trump photo, she became addicted to prescription pills. She also tried to kill herself in June of 2020. “With over a year clean and drug free, I now know that I can do this and anything I want without those devil pills,” she wrote. “I fear drugs and addiction more than I fear cancer. So I think I’ll be ok.”

Update August 8: Kathy Griffin posted a video to Instagram on Saturday, August 7 in which she appeared to be in high spirits, saying, “I might start to post little videos about my recovery and stuff but my voice is really hoarse, and I don’t want to scare people.” Griffin laughed at the idea of that, and said, “Also, for some reason, I laugh at everything now. And if it’s horrible, I laugh way more!”

On Sunday, she posted a three minute-long clip to Instagram with the caption “Some New Standup For Ya,” in which she tells an anecdote about how her husband sliced his hand open “bad” while making her lunch and called for help while she was in bed recovering from lung cancer surgery. “If he’s calling for me, for my help, it must be bad because I can’t do anything!” Cracking herself up, she recounts the absurdity of the situation: “I see my poor husband, and I can barely even walk, and I’ve got no pants on. And I see him holding his hand up, and it’s bleeding like crazy, like in a movie or something. And then I look down and all four of our dogs are trying to lick up the blood. It’s so gross!” 9-1-1 sent a fire truck, and a friend sent her ice cream, so everything was fine in the end.

Kathy Griffin Has Lung Cancer, Underwent Removal Surgery