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Joe Paterno Has Treatable Lung Cancer, AP Reports

by on November 18, 2011 10:47 PM

UPDATE, 10:50 p.m.: This report was updated to include comments made by Jay Paterno in a television interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi televised on Friday night.

Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno has been diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer, his son Scott said in a release given to The Associated Press.

Paterno, who will turn 85 on Dec. 21, was fired last Wednesday after 46 years as the head coach of the Nittany Lion football team. The firing came just days after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, accused of child sexual abuse, was charged with 40 criminal counts on Nov. 5.

In his statement, Scott Paterno noted that his father is undergoing treatment and that “his doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery.”

On its website, the Standard-Speaker in Hazleton reported that Paterno was seen at the Mount Nittany Medical Center on Wednesday in State College.

According to the AP, Scott Paterno said the diagnosis was made during a follow-up visit to the doctor last weekend for a bronchial illness.

The complete statement issued by Scott Paterno is as follows:

"Last weekend my father was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness. He is currently undergoing treatment and his doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery. As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment."

Paterno's son Jay is a Penn State assistant coach and in Columbus, Ohio, where the Penn State football team will play Ohio State on Saturday.


The Nittany Lions' quarterback coach and a PSU assistant coach for 17 seasons, Jay Paterno told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that his father had tests done on Monday and that the younger Paterno was told of the results on Tuesday. Here are a few of his comments:

"This is very treatable. If there's someone who can beat it, it's him. When I tried to talk with him about it, he waved me off: 'You worry about next week's game.' " ...He has a tendency to minimize things."

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Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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