Former Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino to share cancer story at survivorship forum

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By Anne-Gerard Flynn | Special to The Republican

Lawrence “Larry” Lucchino is known to sports fans as principal owner and chair of the Worcester-head Pawtucket Red Sox as well as being former president and chief executive officer of the Boston Red Sox and member of John W. Henry’s ownership group.

The 73-year-old Lucchino is also a cancer survivor and chairs the Jimmy Fund that supports Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and it is this background that brings him to Springfield in June.

Lucchino is keynote speaker at “Cancer Survivorship 101,” a day-long forum being presented June 8 from 8:30 to 3 p.m. in Max’s Tavern conference room at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Morning presenters will address health care concerns of survivors during and transitioning away from treatment. Afternoon break-out sessions, some led by cancer survivors, will address issues that involve caregivers as well as lifestyle habits.

The forum is being presented for the second year by the non-profit Survivor Journeys.

It features presenters from some of the country’s top cancer centers, including Dana-Farber, which has a long-established survivorship care program, New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital/Yale New Haven Health.

Topics range from fear of cancer recurrence, sexual intimacy after a cancer diagnosis and survivorship and integrative medicine.

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship has defined cancer survivorship as something that starts with diagnosis, and the number of cancer survivors has been on the increase in recent decades thanks to earlier detection and treatment. Efforts have grown to comprehensively address the needs of this population beyond diagnosis.

There were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States in 2016, a number that is expected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Lucchino was treated at Dana-Farber in 1986 for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, when he was the 40-year-old vice president and general counsel of the Baltimore Orioles. He will talk on “My View of Cancer Survivorship.”

“Survivor Journeys has always wanted the ‘Cancer Survivorship 101’ keynote speaker to be a cancer survivor of public prominence to be a beacon of hope for those attending,” said organizer and cancer survivor Dr. Jay Burton of Lucchino’s appearance that was facilitated through “a friend of a friend.”

“Last year NBC Boston 10 morning anchor Natasha Verma – a survivor of stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma - was the keynote speaker.”

Burton became a survivorship advocate after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer, in May 2010 and was in remission two monts later after the first round of therapy. He underwent total body irradiation and a stem cell transplant as well and was able returned to work as a primary care doctor, initially part-time, two years later.

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