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Radio Host Battles Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  A bombshell cancer announcement from one of Baltimore’s most popular radio personalities. WBAL Radio’s Ron Smith told his audience Monday morning he’s gearing up to fight pancreatic cancer.

Derek Valcourt has more on the announcement and the disease.

As he does every day on the radio, Smith cut right to the chase: it’s cancer in an advanced stage, he’s going to fight it and, while he does, he says his show must go on.

“A few weeks ago, I began feeling unwell,” Smith said.

WBAL Radio talk show host Ron Smith made the announcement at the start of his show Monday morning. His doctor told him a CAT scan discovered the tumor.

“And he looked at the pictures and at the technical report from the radiologist and he said, `You have grade four pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to your liver…your lungs and so on,'” Smith said.

The 69-year-old says the cancer is inoperable but treatable. He’ll give listeners updates on his condition but he won’t talk about the cancer on his show. Instead, he’ll continue to focus on the politics and social issues that made him so popular, all while undergoing regular chemotherapy treatments.

“Once I have the schedule then, with help of the management here, which has been so supportive, then the Ron Smith Show will continue with Ron Smith except on days when I can’t be here,” Smith said.

It was pancreatic cancer that killed Apple CEO Steve Jobs earlier this month. One of the more serious cancers, it forms in the pancreas, which sits just behind the stomach and is essential in the digestive process. Symptoms include jaundice and persistent abdominal pain that leads to back pain.

“By the time back pain occurs in pancreatic cancer, the cancer may have progressed considerably,” said Dr. Mike Didolkar.

That is the case with Ron Smith’s cancer, but he insists he’ll have no pity party.

“Something’s going to get you in the end and what people should know is all is well. All is well,” Smith said.

Smith says although he’s not happy about it, he’s at peace with his diagnosis and knows he’ll be in chemotherapy for the rest of his life.

Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer live less than five years.

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