Doyle Brunson Diagnosed with Treatable Cancer

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Poker legend Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson announced Tuesday via Twitter that he has been diagnosed with cancer. Brunson has expressed confidence that everything will be just fine.

Early yesterday afternoon, the ten-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner relayed the news to his friends and fans via his oft-used Twitter account, writing:

“It was malignant. 4 times I have heard that in my life. Chilling way to start the day. Squamas cell cancer, nothing to worry about.#yeahright”

After receiving a number of messages from well-wishers, he added:

“Tx 4 the support about the cancer. It’s a slow growth type that is usually ok But it’s something you had rather not hear. #beentheredonethat”

Squamous-cell cancer (the word was misspelled in his original tweet) can develop in several parts of the body, but the most common place to find it is on the skin. It is the second-most common form of skin cancer, with over 200,000 cases reported each year, and commonly manifests as a red, crusted, or scaly patch. Fortunately, because the vast majority of Squamous-cell cases metastasize, the prognosis for patients is usually quite good.

It sounds like Brunson’s case was one of those “good” ones, as he tweeted that the cancer has already been removed. Provided the cancer did not spread (we don’t know if he will need follow-up tests, but we suppose it wouldn’t be a reach to assume so), it seems that he should be in good shape.

This is not the 79-year old Brunson’s first tussle with cancer. He detailed his most storied battle in his book, Super System 2. At the end of 1962, just months after marrying his wife, Louise, Brunson began experiencing a sore throat and found a small knot on his neck. After a few weeks of antibiotic treatments, the lump grew and he went under the knife to have what was thought to be a benign tumor removed. During surgery, it was discovered that he did, indeed, have cancer, a cancer which had spread throughout his body. Doctors gave him just months to live.

Determined to hold his first child (Louise was pregnant at the time), Brunson opted for a radical neck surgery that might be able to prolong his life slightly. To everyone’s shock, after eight hours of surgery the doctors determined that there were no longer any traces of cancer in Brunson’s body. Wrote “The Godfather of Poker” on page 51 of Super System 2:

The odds against merely surviving the operation itself were very high. A month earlier the black corruption of melanoma had been visible to the naked eye. That the cancer had disappeared was incomprehensible to the staff at the hospital. Five doctors had unanimously agreed that it was a medical impossibility for me to live longer than a few more months, with or without the operation.

Brunson’s most recent tangle with cancer was early last year when a melanoma was discovered on his left arm. He checked into the same hospital in Houston where he was labeled a medical marvel 50 years prior and the cancer successfully removed.

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